HarperCollins announced today that it has acquired Amy Tan’s new novel The Valley of Amazement. In a press release, Tan said of the novel, “A painting called the ‘Valley of Amazement’ is passed along through three generations of women of the same family. Despite vast differences in their upbringing, culture and circumstances, each of the women is drawn to discover the meaning of the painting and the unknown histories of their mothers.”
Even though the plot doesn’t sound like a huge departure from her previous novels about Chinese mothers and daughters, I think Tan is ripe for a comeback. I’d be happy to see her go back to her roots –generational family dramas — especially after her last novel for adults, 2005’s Saving Fish from Drowning, proved somewhat out-of-character for her. I dust off my old copy of The Joy Luck Club every year or so, and her other novels, have consistently brought us memorable, feisty female characters. I’m definitely looking forward to some more naggy Chinese grandmothers in the new novel so Tan can put her fine ear for dialect to use.
Are you looking forward to The Valley of Amazement, or does it sound like a retread of her previous books? Say what you will about Tan, but I think she paved the way for brilliant female Chinese authors who have achieved success in the U.S. since, like Yiyun Li and Frances Hwang.