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Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
HarperAudio 2017
Lexile measure:
990L
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan reveals herself in a way she never has before, delving into her childhood, adolescence, family history, beginnings as a writer and professional life to explore the answers to questions of purpose and meaning that we all ask ourselves as we get older.

Moving from her childhood in Oakland and growing up with her Chinese parents through her success as a novelist, Amy Tan delves into her creative interests in music, the paralysis of beginning a new project, journal-writing and travelling. Where the Past Begins chronicles the making of a writer. With characteristic humor and poignant observation, Tan weaves a nontraditional introspective narrative that is as complex and vibrant as this beloved American novelist's fiction. Interspersed with direct correspondence between the author and her editor, this audiobook will give fans and critics unparalleled insight into the author's process, her thoughts on the literary enterprise, and her singularly warm, intelligent mind.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
10/17/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062694751
Lexile measure:
990
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Amy Tan. (2017). Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir. Unabridged HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Amy Tan. 2017. Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir. HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Amy Tan, Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir. HarperAudio, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Amy Tan. Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir. Unabridged HarperAudio, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:48:06
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 18:15:45
Last Metadata Check:
May 17, 2022 10:23:46
Last Metadata Change:
May 17, 2022 10:23:46
Last Availability Check:
May 17, 2022 10:23:48
Last Availability Change:
May 17, 2022 10:23:48
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
May 18, 2022 02:08:20

OverDrive Product Record

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        Daniel Halpern is the president and publisher of Ecco. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Tango and Something Shining, and the founder and long-time editor of the literary magazine Antaeus. He was born in Syracuse, New York, and lives in New York City.

        Julie Strand is a retired psychologist in Seattle.

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        Daniel Halpern is the president and publisher of Ecco. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Tango and Something Shining, and the founder and long-time editor of the literary magazine Antaeus. He was born in Syracuse, New York, and lives in New York City.

        Julie Strand is a retired psychologist in Seattle.

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title
Where the Past Begins
fullDescription

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan reveals herself in a way she never has before, delving into her childhood, adolescence, family history, beginnings as a writer and professional life to explore the answers to questions of purpose and meaning that we all ask ourselves as we get older.

Moving from her childhood in Oakland and growing up with her Chinese parents through her success as a novelist, Amy Tan delves into her creative interests in music, the paralysis of beginning a new project, journal-writing and travelling. Where the Past Begins chronicles the making of a writer. With characteristic humor and poignant observation, Tan weaves a nontraditional introspective narrative that is as complex and vibrant as this beloved American novelist's fiction. Interspersed with direct correspondence between the author and her editor, this audiobook will give fans and critics unparalleled insight into the author's process, her thoughts on the literary enterprise, and her singularly warm, intelligent mind.

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      • value: Grade 5
      • value: Grade 6
      • value: Grade 7
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: 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, which puts the emphasis on survival and perseverance instead of obstacles and hardships. In this nonlinear overview of her life, Tan talks not only about her struggles with health issues, her mother's bouts of depression, and the early deaths of her brother and father, but also about her current writing routine and relationship with her editor, her lifelong fascination with language, and her evolving love of music. 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. C.B.L. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from August 28, 2017
        In this wise and profound memoir, novelist Tan (The Joy Luck Club, etc.), now 65, looks back on her life, illuminating the path that led her to writing. Tan’s fans and writers of all kinds will find her latest work fascinating; she explores how her writing has evolved, and how memory sparks imagination. She also reveals how listening to classical music helps her create scenes during the writing process. Writers will find a chapter of emails between Tan and her editor Dan Halpern to be clever and endearing, illustrating how an exceptional editor helps shape a book and shore up a writer’s self-esteem. Tan also reveals that it takes her years to write a novel, with each more difficult than the last. Woven throughout are tales from the writer’s sometimes traumatic past. Her mother, once married to an abusive Chinese pilot, left her husband and three daughters in China, married Tan’s father, had three more children, and occasionally threatened suicide. When Tan was 15, her father, an electrical engineer and part-time evangelical minister, died of a brain tumor—as did her older brother six months later. Despite hardships and sacrifices, the Tan family held fast to one another, and the “resilience” of love is apparent in these pages. The memoir reveals that, for Tan, the past is ever present, serving as a wellspring of emotion and writing inspiration.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2017

        Novelist (The Joy Luck Club; The Kitchen God's Wife) Tan's second memoir (after 2001's The Opposite of Fate) is a nonlinear exploration of her life, her family's history, and her attempts to understand them as a writer, musician, linguist, and daughter. Each lens she applies to her mother's complexity, her father's turmoil, and her grandmother's actions offers a different way of understanding the past and how that resonates today for Tan. Her family's history is dramatic and captivating, and readers will likely find themselves reflecting on the weight of their own family legends through Tan's thoughtful musings. The email exchanges between Tan and her editor highlight both the writerly discussion about character and plot and the less-glamorous frustrations with formatting in Word that we're all maddeningly familiar with. Tan's tenacity and creativity in trying to understand her parents and their stories is both relatable and remarkable. VERDICT Readers of Tan's novels will enjoy learning about the inspiration behind many of her stories. Book clubs and those who enjoy writers' memoirs, stories about difficult families, or children-of-immigrants narratives will also find much to savor. [See Prepub Alert, 4/24/17.]--Kate Sheehan, C.H. Booth Lib., Newtown, CT

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2017
        The bestselling author reflects on family, reading, writing, and language in a memoir characterized by "free-form spontaneity."After Tan published her last novel (The Valley of Amazement, 2013, etc.), her editor suggested that she compile a volume drawn from some of the thousands of emails she sent him during the time she wrote the book. It would be "easy to pull together," he said, as well as "compelling" and "insightful." Fortunately, Tan rejected that idea, although she does include one chapter containing a selection of emails between them, some of which offer glimpses of her writing process. The rest of her uneven memoir consists of "a potluck of topics and tone": chapters about her response to music, the idea of genius, emotions, her own personality as "unstoppable," learning to read, and her family. Readers of Tan's previous fiction and nonfiction will find a familiar character: her mother, a difficult, moody woman who had an indelible influence on the author. "The main problem, as I saw it growing up," Tan reflects, "is that she was negative in her thinking. She saw falsity in people who were nice. She saw slights in how people treated her." Bad thoughts festered in her mind until they emerged "in an explosive threat" that blighted Tan's life. A psychiatrist who knew her mother marveled that Tan didn't suffer "from a disabling psychiatric disorder as an adult." But she admits that her childhood experiences made her "intolerant of emotional manipulation." Tan is forthcoming about various illnesses, especially her treatment for seizures with a medication that left her feeling unusually happy. When a friend suggested she stop taking the mood-altering drug, she resisted: "Whatever the medication had done to my brain, I had become protective of my new sympathetic nervous system friend." Tan's candid revelations make much of the book entertaining, but the slight journal entries and short pieces she calls "quirks" read like filler, and many chapters would have benefited from further editing. A composite portrait that should appeal to the author's fans.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2017
        In her ambushing and revealing memoir, beloved novelist Tan (The Valley of Amazement, 2013) chronicles with striking candor, sharp wit, and storytelling magic stranger-than-fiction traumas. She illuminates the often-tumultuous role music has played in her life, and how music and her love of drawing have shaped her writing. She recounts two neurological disasters, one with Lyme diseasecaused brain lesionsOliver Sacks wrote about her seizure induced hallucinations the other a severe concussion that ended her pre-novelist academic life in linguistics. As though her excruciating battle to regain language skills isn't astounding enough, Tan also tracks down the education expert who gave her IQ tests throughout her childhood, an inquiry that unexpectedly yields harrowing hidden truths about her family's past in Shanghai, from the fate of her concubine grandmother to her mother's wildly abusive first marriage, a scandalous affair with an electrical engineer, their marriage and precarious immigrant status in the U.S., and their debilitating struggle to establish themselves only to have Tan's father and older brother develop fatal brain tumors. In this year of intense literary memoirs, including Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me and Richard Ford's Between Them, Tan's is electric with her forensic curiosity and extraordinary ability to extract from suffering startling insights into the mind-body connection, inheritance, memory, and creativity. A profound work of endless fascination, discovery, and compassion. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Any book by best-selling Tan is cause for excitement, and this surprising and gripping memoir will be zealously promoted and discussed.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan reveals herself in a way she never has before, delving into her childhood, adolescence, family history, beginnings as a writer and professional life to explore the answers to questions of purpose and meaning that we all ask ourselves as we get older.

Moving from her childhood in Oakland and growing up with her Chinese parents through her success as a novelist, Amy Tan delves into her creative interests in music, the paralysis of beginning a new project, journal-writing and travelling. Where the Past Begins chronicles the making of a writer. With characteristic humor and poignant observation, Tan weaves a nontraditional introspective narrative that is as complex and vibrant as this beloved American novelist's fiction. Interspersed with direct correspondence between the author and her editor, this audiobook will give fans and critics unparalleled insight into the author's...

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