By Vikas Datta It was a tumultuous, even controversial, time for literature in 2016 with mixed reactions to […]
Chtonobdella tanae named after the Joy Luck Club author because of her longstanding support for the American Museum of […]
Amy Tan subverts clichés in her epic tale of Chinese courtesan life, says Krys Lee in FT The […]
Amy Tan was 200 pages into a new novel when she attended a large exhibition on Shanghai life in the early 1900s. While there, she bought a book she thought might help her as she researched details on life in the Old City. She stopped turning pages when she came upon a group portrait.
“It’s called the ’10 Beauties in Shanghai,’ ” she says. These were the winners of a citywide beauty contest for courtesans. There, staring solemnly at the reader, were 10 young women, half of them dressed in similar outfits — snug silk jackets with high, fur-lined collars and three-quarter-length sleeves that displayed long, white sleeves underneath. Several of the women were wearing tight headbands embroidered with pearls. The shape of the headbands brought the wearer’s forehead to a comely V shape, and the tension pulled the eye upward, into the much-desired Phoenix eye shape. The wardrobe and the look were all part of the courtesan’s official ensemble.
Amy Tan jokingly refers to her forthcoming novel, The Valley of Amazement (Ecco, November) as “Fifty Shades of […]