In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction.
By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gathers together evidence of all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.
Tan explores shocking truths uncovered by family memorabilia – the real reason behind an I.Q. test she took at age six, why her parents lied about their education, mysteries surrounding her maternal grandmother – and, for the first time publicly, writes about her complex relationship with her father, who died when she was fifteen.
Written with candour and characteristic humour, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth.
About the author
Amy Tan is the author of The Valley of Amazement, The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, and two children’s books. Tan was also a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club. She lives with her husband and her dogs in California and New York.
‘Tan, who was born in the US to Chinese immigrant parents, is a gifted storyteller’ Financial Times
‘Chinese-Americans are among the most dynamic, and socially cohesive, ethnic groups in the US … Tan is one of their leading voices’ Sunday Times
‘Tan is a prodigal with her talent. She weaves a dazzling web of unfamiliar colours, smells, tastes and landscapes’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Amy Tan writes with passion and humour, making East and West mutually more comprehensible’ Daily Mail
‘Richly varied, thought-provoking book. Where the Past Begins will surely gratify Tan’s many fans, and likely win her numerous new ones’ US Today
‘Wise and profound memoir’ PW
‘Captures her humour, her compassion, her stunning facility with metaphor, her deep sense of wonderment’ San Francisco Chronicle
‘Illuminating new memoir’ BBC