cover image The Valley of Amazement

The Valley of Amazement

Amy Tan, read by Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, and the author. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, 21 CDs, 25 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4233-2239-9

In Tan’s novel, Violet Minturn, the daughter of the American madam of the premiere courtesan house in Shanghai, experiences life quite differently from other children. Her privileged lifestyle provides opportunities, but like her mother before her, Violet must grapple with history, lovers, and family life. In this audio edition, the use of three narrators is well executed. Each reader provides a strong vocal representation of the characters. Although Tan’s performance is solid, she sometimes doesn’t have the skill and flair demonstrated by Wu and Bean, who offer up more nuanced readings. Still, Tan’s performance more than does justice to her novel and its characters. An Ecco hardcover. (Nov.)