NEW YORK - Eight years after the release of her last novel, award-winning author Amy Tan focuses on the search for identity in early 20th century Shanghai in her new book, "The Valley of Amazement."
The plot chronicles the journey of protagonist Violet Minturn, who after being sold in a courtesan house, struggles to understand why her mother abandoned her.
Tan, who is well known for exploring the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, has sold more than 5 million books.
She spoke to Reuters about the process of writing books, identity and fate.
Q: How did the writing of the book unfold over eight years?
A: It became a different book completely from what I had been writing for the first five years. What is left from that is a setting that became Moon Pond (one of the chapters).
I changed the book because I became obsessed with a photo that I found of my grandmother, and I was doing so much research about that world of courtesans just to understand what might have been the case with her that I realized I should write a book set in that world.
A lot of my attitudes and beliefs have descended from my mother and therefore may have possibly descended from her mother. Who she was then lies partly in me.