From Publishers Weekly
A girl's adventures on the night of the Moon Festival make for "a haunting tale... worthy of retelling and of repeated rereading," said PW in a starred review. Ages 6-up.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-- This is a reworking of a story from the author's adult novel, The Joy Luck Club (Putnam, 1989). Here it is set in the frame of a grandmother regaling her three granddaughters on a rainy afternoon with a tale from her childhood. On the evening of the Moon Festival, she is separated from her family, and goes through several fascinating and scary adventures until she is finally reunited with them. Tan has a good tale here, and she retells it well for children: while the story is in progress, it is told from the child's point of view; at beginning and ending frames, the grandmother's voice is used. The illustrations are an integral part of this version and can best be described as phantasmagorical or Chinese baroque. They are extremely detailed, providing both accurate cultural detail of the period (the tale is set somewhere in the two decades after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, i.e., the 1920s or '30s) and a child's romantic imaginings. Primary colors reign in the 12 sumptuous full-page pictures, as well as in the smaller vignettes that pepper and punctuate the narrative. A successful collaboration of compelling text and absorbing illustrations that will make young readers crave more.
--John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Amy Tan begins The Opposite of Fate, a collection of essays that spans her literary career, on a humorous note; she is troubled that her life and novels have become the subject of a "Cliff’s Notes" abridgement. Reading the little yellow booklet, she discovers that her work is seen as complex and rich with symbolism. However, Tan assures her readers that she has no lofty, literary intentions in writing her novels--she writes for herself, and insists that the recurring patterns and themes that critics find in them are entirely their own making. This self-deprecating stance, coupled with Tan’s own clarification of her intentions, makes The Opposite of Fate feel like an extended, private conversation with the author.
Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers’ rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tan’s self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.
--Patrick O’Kelley/ Amazon.com Review
From Publishers Weekly
In this charming original folktale from the pair who produced The Moon Lady , a mother cat tells her kittens the true story of their ancestry: "You are not Siamese cats but Chinese cats." She proudly informs them that they are descended from Sagwa of China, who lived during the reign of the Foolish Magistrate. Sagwa's parents, we learn, had the hapless task of dipping their tails in ink to record the dour dictates of the Foolish Magistrate. After inadvertently landing in the ink pot one day (hence acquiring the familiar dark markings of the Siamese cat), Sagwa uses her blackened pawprints to delete the word "not" from the magistrate's latest ruling, whereupon it is promulgated that "People must sing until the sun goes down." Foolish Magistrate is outraged, but when he suddenly realizes his subjects are chanting his praises, he changes his tune, reversing the laws and declaring that henceforth all Chinese felines will have dark faces, ears, paws and tails--in honor of Sagwa. Featuring inventive borders and vivid, if occasionally garish hues, Schield's energetic illustrations prove, once again, an atmospheric counterpart to Tan's vivacious narration. Ages 5-8.
San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear.
With picaresque characters and mesmerizing imagery, Saving Fish from Drowning gives us a voice as idiosyncratic, sharp, and affectionate as the mothers of The Joy Luck Club. Bibi is the observant eye of human nature–the witness of good intentions and bad outcomes, of desperate souls and those who wish to save them. In the end, Tan takes her readers to that place in their own heart where hope is found.
A rollicking, adventure-filled story . . . packed [with] the human capacity for love.”
“Amy Tan is among our great storytellers.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“Amy Tan has created an almost magical adventure that, page by page, becomes a metaphor for human relationships.”
“With humor, ruthlessness, and wild imagination, Tan has reaped [a] fantastic tale of human longings and (of course) their consequences.”
“A book that’s easy to read and hard to forget.”
Ruth Young and her widowed mother, LuLing, have always had a tumultuous relationship. Now, before she succumbs to forgetfulness, LuLing gives Ruth some of her writings, which reveal a side of LuLing that Ruth has never known. . . .
In a remote mountain village where ghosts and tradition rule, LuLing grows up in the care of her mute Precious Auntie as the family endures a curse laid upon a relative known as the bonesetter. When headstrong LuLing rejects the marriage proposal of the coffinmaker, a shocking series of events are set in motion–all of which lead back to Ruth and LuLing in modern San Francisco. The truth that Ruth learns from her mother’s past will forever change her perception of family, love, and forgiveness.
““As compelling as Tan’s first bestseller, The Joy Luck Club. . . No one writes about mothers and daughters with more empathy than Amy Tan.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“For Tan, the true keeper of memory is language, and so the novel is layered with stories that have been written down–by mothers for their daughters, passing along secrets that cannot be said out loud but must not be forgotten.”
–The New York Times Book Review
"The wisest and most captivating novel tan has written."
-The Boston Globe
Set in San Francisco and in a remote village of Southwestern China, Amy Tan's The Hundred Secret Senses is a tale of American assumptions shaken by Chinese ghosts and broadened with hope. In 1962, five-year-old Olivia meets the half-sister she never knew existed, eighteen-year-old Kwan from China, who sees ghosts with her "yin eyes." Decades later, Olivia describes her complicated relationship with her sister and her failing marriage, as Kwan reveals her story, sweeping the reader into the splendor and violence of mid-nineteenth century China. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, Tan conjures up a story of the inheritance of love, its secrets and senses, its illusions and truths.
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Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a tale of three women, connected by personal rebellion, betrayal, and a mysterious painting called "The Valley of Amazement." As with all of Tan's novels, we are swept into the emotional turmoil of mothers and daughters, heritage and individuality, race and culture, and the damaging residue of secrets that lead to misunderstanding from one generation
to the next. Lulu, Violet, and Flora, each of a different racial mix and status, must question what is fated from birth, where they belong, and what they can still change.
The story opens in 1905, in a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai, Hidden Jade Path, run by Lulu Minturn, an American woman with Yankee ingenuity and an unknown past. Her daughter, Violet, is unaware of the identity of her father, until she is left behind in Shanghai during the exodus of Americans when the Qing Dynasty falls. Sold into a courtesan house of low repute, fourteen-year-old Violet is groomed as the "virgin courtesan," a fate she resists, until she meets an older courtesan, Magic Gourd, who counsels her on the stupidity of clinging to American pride. She teaches her errant student how to survive and secure her future with business cunning and a practical assortment of tricks of the trade.
For the next two decades, Violet takes us on a careening journey steered by self-will, reckless desires, and clear-eyed resolve. That pursuit takes us into the boudoirs of courtesan houses and the homes of Western sojourners and opportunists, who have made the International Settlement in Shanghai their fiefdom during the boom years of foreign trade.
Ultimately, this is a story of the many hard facets of love that underlie fragile hope and the near impossibility of forgiveness--territory that Tan hones with characteristic humor, insight, and poignant truth.
Kindle Single, 43 pages
In her startlingly sensual new story, “Rules for Virgins”—this 43-page jewel of a tale is the first fiction she has published in six years—beloved bestselling author Amy Tan (“The Joy Luck Club,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter”) takes us deep into the illicit world of 1912 Shanghai, where beautiful courtesans mercilessly compete for the patronage of wealthy gentlemen. For the women, the contest is deadly serious, a perilous game of economic survival that, if played well, can set them up for life as mistresses of the rich and prominent. There is no room for error, however: erotic power is hard to achieve and harder to maintain, especially in the loftiest social circles.
Enter veteran seducer, Magic Gourd, formerly one of Shanghai’s “Top Ten Beauties” and now the advisor and attendant of Violet, an aspiring but inexperienced courtesan. Violet may have the youth and the allure, but Magic Gourd has the cunning and the knowledge without which the younger woman is sure to fail. These ancient tricks of the trade aren't written down, though; to pass them on to her student, Magic Gourd must reach back into her own professional past, bringing her lessons alive with stories and anecdotes from a career spent charming and manipulating men who should have known better but rarely did.
The world of sexual intrigue that Tan reveals in "Rules for Virgins" actually existed once, and she spares no detail in recreating it. But this story is more than intriguing (and sometimes shocking) historical literary fiction. Besides inviting us inside a life that few writers but Tan could conjure up, the intimate confessions of Magic Gourd add up to a kind of military manual for the War of the Sexes’ female combatants. The wisdom conveyed is ancient, specific, and timeless, exposing the workings of vanity and folly, calculation and desire that define the mysterious human heart.
Winnie and Helen have kept each other's worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie's story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events tha led to Winnie's coming to America in 1949.
Praise for The Kitchen God's Wife…
"A beautiful book...what fascinates in The Kitchen God's Wife is not only the insistent storytelling but the details of Chinese life and tradition; not only how people lived but how their sensibility shines through, most notably in their speech. Amy Tan has a command with language in which event and concrete perception jump into palpable metaphor, and images from the daily world act like spiritual agents." —Los Angeles Times
"Remarkable...mesmerizing...compelling.... An entire world unfolds in Tolstoyan tide of event and detail....Give yourself over to the world Ms. Tan creates for you." —The New York Times Book Review
Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.
With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.
43 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, nominated for The National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Award. Winner of the Commonwealth Club Gold Award, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. Selected by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program.
In 1992, a cadre of the world’s bestselling authors formed a garage band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. For two decades the band played proudly (and terribly) to sold out crowds across the country and raised more than $2 million dollars for charity. last summer, they hung up their guitar picks, drumsticks and leather whips, mourning the tragic passing of their beloved founder, Kathi Kamen Goldmark.
Now, for the first time, these authors share the behind-the-scenes, uncensored story of their two decades of friendship, love, writing, and the redemptive power of rock’n’roll in a first-of-its-kind interactive nonfiction e-book: HARD LISTENING: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All by Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Matt Groening, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Sam Barry, and Roger McGuinn, edited by Sam Barry and Jennifer Lou.
HARD LISTENING, with its collection of essays, stories, musings, group email exchanges, candid conversations, compromising photographs, and audio and video (semi-musical) clips, as well as interactive quizzes, is unlike anything else available when it comes to the e-book experience. Fans will delight in its direct access to the brilliant, wacky minds of these popular and talented authors. There’s plenty of teasing, riffing and ragging on each other, but at the heart of the book are these writers’ innermost sentiments about the friendships formed, the love found, and the tragedy of losing to cancer the person who brought them together, Kathi Kamen Goldmark.
Of particular interest to fans of The King: Stephen King’s contributions to the book include a new essay, a new short story, and several candid email exchanges. There is also a featured writing contest, in which several of the authors (including King) contributed short stories written in the author’s style. Readers then get to vote on which piece was actually written by King before seeing the results.
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