Where the Past Begins

Where the Past Begins

A Writer's Memoir

Large Print - 2017
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From New York Times bestselling author Amy Tan, a memoir about finding meaning in life through acts of creativity and imagination

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan reveals the ways that our memories and personal experiences can inform our creative work. Drawing on her vivid impressions of her upbringing, Tan investigates the truths and inspirations behind her writing while illuminating how we all explore, confront, and process complex memories, especially half-forgotten ones from childhood.

With candor, empathy, and humor, Tan sheds light on her own writing process, sharing her hard-won insights on the nature of creativity and inspiration while exploring the universal urge to examine truth through the workings of imagination--and what that imaginative world tells us about our own lives. Where the Past Begins is both a unique look into the mind of an extraordinary storyteller and an indispensable guide for writers, artists, and other creative thinkers.

Publisher: New York :, HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, 2017, ©2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062688194
Branch Call Number: LPE 813 TAN T
Characteristics: xi, 557 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


From the critics

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Nov 01, 2018

I had read many of Amy Tan's books and was going away for a few days and staying at a "book hotel" in the Amy Tan room. I was inspired to listen to her memoir on my drive down. I loved the book because I enjoyed getting to learn about Tan as a person, her struggles, triumphs and experiences in life that led her to write her novels. It was very enriching to learn about her rich, complex, tumultuous past. It was intriguing to learn about her relationship with her mother and how complicated it was, yet loving and how they were able to work out their issues. I also love reading immigrant stories and experiences and while Tan herself is not an immigrant her parents were. A great insight into the life of a beloved author.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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