- Published: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2013.
- Year Published: 2013
- Edition: First edition.
- Description: 589 pages ; 24 cm
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Americans -- Fiction. -- China
- Art -- Fiction.
- Courtesans -- Fiction.
- Family secrets -- Fiction.
- Identity (Psychology) -- Fiction.
- Kidnapping -- Fiction.
- Mothers and daughters -- Fiction.
- Shanghai (China) -- Fiction.
- San Francisco (Calif.) -- Fiction.
- Historical fiction.
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The valley of amazement
by Tan, Amy.
There are currently 11 available
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Call number: Fiction
Available Copies: Downtown 1st Floor, Malletts Adult, Pittsfield Adult, Traverwood Adult, West Adult
Violet Minturn, a half-Chinese/half-American courtesan who deals in seduction and illusion in Shanghai, struggles to find her place in the world, while her mother, Lucia, tries to make sense of the choices she has made and the men who have shaped her.
It should be noted that none of these roles offered a woman any choice. In all, a woman was a purchase item. Only luck or cleverness might shield a woman from neglect or abuse. Better a wife than a beggar or whore, in terms of food and shelter. Not much to choose in terms of autonomy.
In this context, Tan creates a set of characters trying to make the best of the situation they've fallen into. This she does with her usual skill.
What prompts my cynical title is behaviors by the women more familiar in the Harlequin romance--the flouncing out, the pouting, the yearning for the handsome charmer. Or is this, I thought, listening to a book club discussion, intended to trigger our feminist outrage, 21st century style, to post-Imperial Republican China? In the end, a monumental research effort that provides the setting for too many examples of individual behavior, making for tedious reading about a fascinating cultural phenomenon.
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