August 6, 1945: the day Enola Gay unleashed an atomic inferno over Hiroshima. In the wake of its devastation, two stories unfold. There’s Jim, an American soldier who was entrusted with taking care of Yoro, a Japanese girl who then disappears after the atomic bomb falls. And there’s H, a Japanese child who is at school when the bomb drops and is indelibly marked by its destruction. Both victims of the bomb, H and Jim meet for the first time in New York years later—their paths cross by chance, they fall in love, and together they continue Jim’s search for Yoro. A quixotic twenty-first century quest to discover what makes us human, from refugee camps to the slave mines of Africa, from Brazil to Borneo, Japan to Mexico, it’s also a journey that plumbs the depths and heights of cruelty and compassion, vulnerability and violence.
Marina Perezagua’s urgent, incantatory, and highly original novel moves us beyond our understanding of history as broad and sweeping to the individual stories of those who feel joy and pain, who suffer and transcend. Both dazzling and dark, The Story of H pulsates with a terrible beauty and power that lingers with the reader long after the last page.
Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign “Shanghailanders” living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.
A deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.