Amy Tan's 'Valley of Amazement'

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 (Mark Mainz/Getty Images for AFI)

Best-selling author Amy Tan's latest novel was partly inspired by a photo of her grandmother. After looking through old pictures of Chinese courtesans, she was struck by the fact that their clothes were similar to those worn by her grandmother. The story behind her grandmother's clothing remains a mystery, but led Tan to her latest project, "The Valley of Amazement." In it, Tan uncovers the hidden lives of high-class courtesans in 20th century Shanghai. She joins us in the studio.

Some of the Photos That Inspired Tan's Latest Novel

Amy Tan's Grandmother


Amy Tan, author of "The Valley of Amazement," "The Joy Luck Club" and "The Kitchen God's Wife"


The Ten Beauties of Shanghai (five shown)

Amy Tan's Grandmother