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Customer Review

Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was delighted to have a new Amy Tan big novel to read.
I find Amy Tan's writing creates rich and interesting characters and situations.
The book begins with Violet age seven in Shanghai 1905
She is living in a house of courtesans owned by her American mother Lulu Minturn and Golden Dove, her mother's best friend.
Violet is wilful and resentful,l feeling herself deprived of the love and attention she craves.
She has been told her father is dead but is this true? and while Violet tells herself she is an American like her mother, she is afraid of being half Chinese after being teased at school.
The novel is full of tiny details telling so much of early twentieth century China. Customs, language, superstitions, all fascinating.
This is not about contemporary China, there are no politics, it is all about women, their relationships, their emotions and their mistakes, their dreams and loves.
The book changes perspective from Violet to Lucia and goes back in time so the reader learns later how and why Lulu, aka Lucia, an American is running a high class brothel in Shanghai. Again I found the story fascinating.
Finally there is a third perspective that I won't say, as I do not like spoilers.
The Valley of Amazement in the title is a painting, and perhaps a place.
There is a lot of sex, sometimes blunt, perhaps crude. It is completely relevant to the plot and did not seem over the top in a story about women who must have sex to survive.
There is a lot that is brutal and cruel, that is also part of that time and place. Nothing too graphic or unnecessary.
Reading this rich novel is a wonderful journey to another time and place and Amy Tan is a fantastic storyteller.
This was a novel I had no trouble reading from start to finish, definitely recommended.
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