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Amy Tan’s Journey To ‘The Valley Of Amazement’

Aired 12/3/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Amy Tan, bestselling author of "The Joy Luck Club." Her latest novel is "The Valley of Amazement."


Harper Collins

"The Valley of Amazement" is a new novel by bestselling author Amy Tan.

Amy Tan was in the middle of writing a different book when she was struck by the idea for her latest novel, "The Valley of Amazement."

Tan was at a San Francisco museum looking at an exhibit on Shanghai. That's where she found a photograph of Chinese courtesans that reminded her of a favorite photograph of her grandmother.

The idea that her own grandmother could have been a courtesan went against every story of her family history that she knew.

Tan said in an essay describing the book, "I was shocked, baffled, filled with wonderment, and the excitement of a writer who has stumbled upon a mystery with the possibility of discovering new truth."

"The Valley of Amazement" is long awaited by fans who loved Tan's first book, "The Joy Luck Club," and her other novels, including "The Kitchen God's Wife" and "The Bonesetter's Daughter." They were all New York Times best-sellers.

However, this book is different; Tan admits it contains sex scenes. But "The Valley of Amazement" also centers around many of the same themes readers are familiar with from her other works: a journey of self discovery through exploring the mother-daughter relationship.

Amy Tan will be in La Jolla at Warwicks Books to read from her new book, "The Valley of Amazement" on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

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