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Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan

“…there is no greater meaning to my life than what happens when I write,” Amy Tan writes in her newest book, Where the Past Begins.  As the narrative unfolds, Tan reveals and reflects on the personal and professional choices she has made to become the writer that she is today. Along the way, she defines her purpose as a storyteller:  to be as honest as she can be about the stories her characters tell.

This book could be described as an accidental memoir, as its beginnings were an arrangement made between Tan and her editor, Daniel Halpern, to collect the many emails, conversations and journal entries on the topic of writing. What has occurred here is a close examination of a writer on a journey of self-discovery. Tan traces her personal recollection of events large and small from her life. She muses on the accuracy of memory and raises questions about what may have really happened as opposed to what you remember has happened. She beautifully and with great candor tell us about her childhood, her family relationships and her response to uncovering the sometimes horrific stories of her mother’s family. Tan uses the act of writing as a tool to find life’s meaning for herself. She endeavors to answer the question of where she has come from as well as map a direction for where she is going.  Tan offers us a glimpse into her writer’s craft but also tells how her personal story inspires and informs her fiction.

I listened to the audiobook which Tan narrates. Her voice, careful diction and eloquent pauses makes the experience even more compelling. It was as if we were having an intimate conversation. This work is available as text or audiobook. To reserve a copy of Where the Past Begins click here

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