Where the Past Begins

Where the Past Begins

A Writer's Memoir

Book - 2017 | First edition
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"In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate, revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels. Tan explores shocking truths uncovered by family memorabilia--the real reason behind an IQ test she took at age six, why her parents lied about their education, mysteries surrounding her maternal grandmother--and, for the first time publicly, writes about her complex relationship with her father, who died when she was fifteen. Suffused with candor and characteristic humor, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer's mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062319296
0062319299
9780062803290
0062803298
9780062803283
006280328X
Characteristics: x, 357 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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writermala
Feb 15, 2018

Amy Tan's memoir "Where the past begins" is subtitled accurately as "A writer's memoir." Indeed the book shows Amy's life progressing from childhood to adulthood and her growth as a writer. Every aspiring writer will benefit from reading this memoir. All readers will find parts of themselves in this book. Tan relates her complex relationship with her mother who struggled with issues of her own. Tan struggles with the loss of a brother and father as does her mother and these human relationships are described poignantly.

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MplsTA
Feb 13, 2018

I must be one of the few that has not read Amy Tan's other books. I read this as I wanted to know more about the author after hearing her interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air.
Tan peppers the book with examples of the processes she uses as an writer such as using music to inspire her in her writing. Much like a soundtrack. She also included memos/emails between herself and her agent/publishers. An interesting look into the business side of what she does.
This book is also very personal with much revealed about her childhood and her relationship with her mother who struggled with her past to the point of being suicidal at times as well as witnessing at a young age the deaths of her father and brother from brain tumors.

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Uchinaguchi
Nov 19, 2017

Amy Tan's memoir isn't about her life and how it led to her being a writer, but about how all the aspects of her life and the lives before her inspired her to write. This is a very fluid book as one chapter flows into the next, and how perception and understanding changes over time reveals that our lives are in flux. I don't want to make any interpretations into Tan's life, even though this is her memoir. But what I loved about this memoir was how much of her internal voice mirrored my own, and how she gave words to thoughts I hadn't constructed yet. I was engulfed in her memoir and it has now changed my own perceptions of my past as I continue to flow through my life.

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Marilyn34
Oct 26, 2017

This memoir showed me that writers struggle in life just like everyone else.

Check out my review of "Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir" on my blog at:
http://axarr.blogspot.com/2017/10/new-release-review-where-past-begins.html

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