Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Valley of Amazement
The Valley of Amazement is Amy Tan's latest book - another wonderful read that spans decades of the lives of a mother and daughter.
Lulu Mintern is a white courtesan in China, having run away from her California home with a Chinese painter. Her life has always been a bit mysterious to her daughter, Violet, who feels as though she never has been truly loved by her mother. Lulu plans to leave China with her daughter and a boyfriend and return to the United States, but is tricked into leaving Violet behind. Both Violet and Lulu are lied to and deceived and their separation lasts decades, neither knowing the truth about what became of the other.
Violet, left with no options, is forced into the life of a courtesan just like her mother. In her lifetime she finds love several times, only to have events take away any chances of happiness. She, too, gives birth to a daughter, Flora, that she is separated from; Violet and her mother experiences many parallels in their lifetimes.
Tan's story moves from China to San Francisco, from the late 1800's to the early twentieth century as we follow Lulu and Violet throughout their troubled lives. This lengthy novel was hard to put down as I became more engrossed in the lives of these two women and yearned for them to find happiness together.