Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir

By Amy Tan
Read by Amy Tan

14.54 Hours 10/17/2017 unabridged
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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 gives evidence to 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 IQ 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. Supplied with candor and characteristic humor, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.

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Summary

Summary

Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

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 gives evidence to 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 IQ 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. Supplied with candor and characteristic humor, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Add capable audiobook narrator to the list of Amy Tan’s many talents. Her unique memoir is made all the more accessible and personal through her animated performance…Tan’s rendering of her mother’s Chinese-American accent carries both authenticity and respect and reminds listeners that Tan’s perspective has been shaped by her status as a first-generation American.” AudioFile
“The best new memoir I’ve read in a decade is Amy Tan’s breath-taking high-wire act of memory and imagination…[a] classic of the form…A must-read for the ages.” Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author
“In this wise and profound memoir, novelist Tan, now 65, looks back on her life, illuminating the path that led her to writing…For Tan, the past is ever present, serving as a wellspring of emotion and writing inspiration.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In her ambushing and revealing memoir, beloved novelist Tan chronicles with striking candor, sharp wit, and storytelling magic stranger-than-fiction traumas…A profound work of endless fascination, discovery, and compassion.” Booklist (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Amy Tan

Amy Tan is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels, including The Joy Luck Club, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Valley of Amazement, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter, as well as The Kitchen God’s Wife, which hit the #1 New York Times bestseller spot. She has also written the children’s books The Moon Lady and Sagwa, which has been adapted for television by PBS. Her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and her work has been translated into thirty-five languages.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 14.54
Audience: Adult
Language: English