After an absence of four years, Amy Tan is back with a new and provocative novel guaranteed to cause ripples among critics and readers alike. Tan’s books often deal with mother-daughter relationships, tapping her Chinese-American roots for the familial complexities that arise in the culture clash of East and West. It comes as no surprise that the underlying theme of THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT addresses these differences, but Lucia and Violet are unlike any mother and daughter we’ve met in Tan’s work and perhaps anywhere else. The action takes place at the turn of the 20th century in San Francisco and Shanghai during and after the fall of the Qing Dynasty.
We first meet Violet at age seven living with her American-born mother, Lucia Minturn, the madam of Hidden Jade Path, a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai. Lucia left San F