The Hundred Secret Senses – Amy Tan

Titlethehundredsecretsenses: The Hundred Secret Senses

Author: Amy Tan

ISBN-10:  0143119087

ISBN-13: 978-0143119081

Paperback: 368 pages

The Plot:

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her seventeen-year-old-half-sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her world upside down. She is bombarded day and night with Kwan’s stories from the world of Yin – romantic tales of ghosts who were once bandit maidens, strange accounts of missionaries and mercenaries from another world. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia unhappily endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia’s failed marriage. But just when Olivia cannot bear it anymore, the revelations of a tragic, hundred-year-old family secret gives her the opportunity to reconcile these ghosts from the past with the dreams of her future…

With a sharp eye for the tragi-comedy of those whose lives are caught between two cultures, Amy Tan weaves an extraordinary and inspiring tale. In prose which blends the deceptive simplicities of fairy tales with vivid characterisation and a sly, poignant humour, she proves once again that she has no rivals – Amy Tan is the quintessential storyteller.


Another amazing book by Amy Tan. A beautify story narrated equally well with a mix of humour and emotion, it was an amazing read. Parts of it made me chuckle while parts were heartbreaking. I loved the characters, especially Kwan and her stories of distant lands and times.

As with her previous novels that I have read, ‘The Valley of Amazement’ and ‘Saving Fish From Drowning’, what I loved about this book was the way the story of the characters comes full circle, making the end all the more satisfying. A highly recommended read!


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The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan

The Valley of AmazementTitle : The Valley of Amazement

Author : Amy Tan

ISBN-10 :  0062107321

ISBN-13 : 978-0062107329

Paperback : 608 pages

The Plot :

Violet Minturn grows up in Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, the striking and wilful daughter of its American mistress. In 1912, when the Emperor is deposed and celebrations rock the city, a cruel act of deception separates Violet from her mother.

Forced to become a virgin courtesan, Violet determines to master the arts that will make her one of the most desired women in Shanghai. In this new way of life, romance is an illusion and seduction nothing more than a transaction; but she can never relinquish her hope of finding truth in love.

Violet’s need to understand her past fires her quest to uncover the truth about her mother and the men – father figures and lovers – who have shaped her journey. Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply evocative narrative of a fateful family history. With her characteristic wisdom, grace and humour, Amy Tan conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and betrayals, its power and truth.

Review :

To me a good book is one that keeps you so engrossed in the story that when you are reading it you are blissfully unaware of things around you. Personally I could have read The Valley of Amazement in the middle of a parade route and not looked up from the book for a second. The one word I can think of to describe the story has to be ‘mesmerising’.

The characters are so likable that you are so invested in their lives from the very first chapter. The 600 plus pages is like living a lifetime with Violet and I enjoyed every minute of it. Amy Tan has a beautiful way of looking at even the most mundane things and making them sound exotic and her lyrical style is very engaging. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden you will love this book. In my opinion this is a definite must read.

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