Valley of Amazement (Tan) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Written in Tan's characteristically economical and matter-of-fact style, The Valley of Amazement is filled with memorably idiosyncratic chracters. And its array of colorful multilayerd stories is given further depth by Tan's affecting depictions of mothers and daughters ... strong women struggling to survive all that life has to throw at them.
Lesley Downer - New York Times Book Review


The Valley of Amazement is never dull — there’s far too much sex, suffering and intrigue for that — but it’s wearisome. We deserve more enlightenment for surviving this ordeal with Violet. Her travails should deliver us to a place we couldn’t have imagined at the start.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


At times Tan skates perilously close to the thin emotional ice of a Mills & Boon, with the narrative of lost love and lost children, but she is too astute a writer to fall through entirely. She is a brisk storyteller, and despite its flaws, The Valley of Amazement packs in enough drama to keep her readers going to the end.
Isabel Hilton  - Guardian (UK)


In short, it's one Tan thing after another, and therein lies the episodic weakness of this book, which is epic in length but not in shape. After a couple hundred pages, the reader recognizes, with a slow-descending pall, that men will keep behaving badly (or, at best, weakly) and Violet will keep suffering. Not, however, without processing her feelings as efficiently as a guest correspondent for O magazine.
Louis Bayard - Los Angeles Times


The epic story follows three generations of women pulled apart by outside forces.… The choice to cram the truth... into the last 150 pages makes the story unnecessarily confusing. Nonetheless, Tan’s mastery of the lavish world of courtesans and Chinese customs continues to transport.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) This utterly engrossing novel is highly recommended to all readers who appreciate an author’s ability to transport them to a new world they will not forget. As a plus, this reviewer sensed the harbinger of a sequel by the last page.
Library Journal


(Starred review.)  Tan’s prodigious, sumptuously descriptive, historically grounded, sexually candid, and elaborately plotted novel counters violence, exploitation, betrayal, and tragic cultural divides with beauty, wit, and transcendent friendship between women.
Booklist


Tan's story sometimes suffers from longueurs*, but the occasional breathless, steamy scene evens the score.… A satisfyingly complete, expertly paced yarn.
(*boring parts)
Kirkus Reviews

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