Amy Tan: The Valley of Amazement


Books in Conversation

“Reading [Amy Tan] is like peering into a carved ivory ball that contains numerous smaller balls, each revealing a different design but all worked from a single source." — The New York Times Book Review

“How do I create something out of nothing? And how do I create my own life? I think it is by questioning, and saying to myself that there are no absolute truths.” — Amy Tan


The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, it resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade, and anti-foreign sentiment, 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. A deeply 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. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.

Amy Tan will be in conversation with award-winning author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.



Cash Bar and Limited Café Offerings: 6:00 pm
Program: 7:00 pm

Registered ticket holders, please enjoy free admission to the Sarofim Gallery now showing Weavers' Stories From Island Southeast Asia, open until the start of the program.


About Amy Tan

Amy TanBorn in the United States to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan rejected her mother's expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist. She chose to write fiction instead. Her much-loved, best-selling novels, including The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses, have been translated into 35 languages. In addition to writing, she created the libretto for The Bonesetter’s Daughter, which had its world premiere in September 2008 with the San Francisco Opera.

Tan was the creative consultant for Sagwa, the Emmy-nominated PBS series for children, and she has appeared as herself on The Simpsons. Notably, she is the lead rhythm dominatrix, backup singer, and second tambourine with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a literary garage band that has raised more than a million dollars for literacy programs.


About Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniChitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of many books, including The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, One Amazing Thing and, her latest, Oleander Girl. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Born in India, she lives in Houston and teaches in the nationally-ranked Creative Writing program at the University of Houston.


Related Links

Houston Chronicle: Author Amy Tan to Introduce New Novel at Asia Society Texas Center
Houston Chronicle: Book Excerpt: Tan's Valley of Amazement

NPR: Amy Tan's Latest: Mothers, Daughters And The Oldest Profession


Presented in partnership with Brazos Bookstore, Houston’s Premier Independent Bookseller. Asia Society Texas Center is funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

Brazos BookstoreCity of HoustonHouston Arts Alliance

Event Details

Mon 16 Dec 2013
7 p.m.-
1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901
Sold out. Ticket-holders must arrive no later than 6:45 pm to be guaranteed seating.
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