SNEAK PEEK — from The Valley of Amazement
I was too short to see past the clusters of men, but I could hear my mother’s bright voice, moving closer or farther away, greeting each customer as if he were a long-lost friend. She gently admonished those whom she had not seen in a while, and they were flattered that she had missed them. I watched how she guided those men into agreeing with whatever she said. If two men in the room held opposite opinions, she did not take sides but expressed a view somewhere above, and like a goddess, she moved their opinions into a common one. She did not translate their exact words but altered the tone of intention, interest, and cooperation.
She was also forgiving of gaffes, and they were bound to happen, as is the case between nations. I recall an evening when I was standing next to Mother as she introduced a British mill owner, Mr. Scott, to a banker named Mr. Yang. Mr. Scott immediately launched into a story about his winnings at the racetrack that day. Unfortunately, Mr. Yang spoke perfect English, and thus my mother was unable to alter the conversation when Mr. Scott talked excitedly about his afternoon betting on horses.
"That horse had odds of twelve to one. In the last quarter mile, his legs were slashing the air, gaining steady speed all the way to the end." He shaded his eyes, as if seeing the race once again. "He took the race by five lengths! Mr. Yang, do you enjoy horse races?" Mr. Yang said with unsmiling diplomacy, "I have not had the pleasure, Mr. Scott, nor has any Chinese I know." Mr. Scott quickly replied: "We must go together, then. Tomorrow perhaps?"
To which Mr. Yang gravely replied: "By your Western laws in the International Settlement, you would have to take me as your servant." Mr. Scott's smile vanished. He had forgotten the prohibition. He looked nervously at my mother, and she said in a humorous tone, "Mr. Yang, you must bring Mr. Scott into the Chinese Walled City as your rickshaw puller, and encourage him to make haste like his winning horse to the gate. Tit for tat."
After they shared a good laugh, she said, "All this talk of speed and haste reminds me that we must work quickly together to secure approval for the shipping route through Yokohama. I know of someone who can be helpful in that regard. Shall I send a message tomorrow?" The next week, three gifts of money arrived, one from Mr. Yang, a larger one from Mr. Scott, and the last from the bureaucrat who had greased the way to the approvals and had a stake in the deal. I saw how she entranced the men. They acted as if they were in love with her. However, they could not make any confessions of ardor, no matter how true. The warning went around that she would not view them as genuine feelings of love, but trickery to gain unfair advantage. She promised that if they tried to gain her affections, she would banish them from Hidden Jade Path. She broke that promise with one man.
From the book THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT by Amy Tan. © 2013 by Amy Tan. All rights reserved. Published by arrangement with Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Lisa See, author of international bestsellers Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls
"It's been a long eight years since Amy Tan's last novel, but THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT proves that good things--breathtaking things--come to those who wait. [...] It's wonderful to be back in Amy's magical and amazing world."
"Tan's mastery of the lavish world of courtesans and Chinese customs continues to transport."
"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 friendships between women."
"Fans of Tan's previous works (including The Joy Luck Club) will rejoice when they get their hands on this book."
Newsday (Fall Preview)
"The author of The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses can deliver a sweeping family saga like nobody else."
"Tan is a skilled storyteller. . . A satisfyingly complete, expertly paced yarn."
Library Journal (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."
Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the mountains of a remote Chinese village.Spanning more than 40 years and two continents, the novel resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty and the rise of the Republic, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign Shanghailanders living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.An evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Tan's The Joy Luck Club.
- SKU: 000000000001381493
- Author: Amy Tan
- Publisher: HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHERS
- Release date: Nov 5, 2013
- ISBN: 9780062107312
- Format: Hardcover
- Commitment Credit: 1
- Book Search Plus: No
- Warnings: No
- Height: 1.370
- Length: 8.250
- Width: 5.500