• Rules for Virgins

  • Wherein Magic Gourd Advises Young Violet on How to Become a Popular Courtesan While Avoiding Cheapskates, False Love, and Suicide
  • By: Amy Tan
  • Narrated by: Nancy Wu
  • Length: 1 hr and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-09-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (91 ratings)

Regular price: $6.99

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Publisher's Summary

In her startlingly sensual story Rules for Virgins, beloved best-selling author Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter’s Daughter) takes us deep into the illicit world of 1912 Shanghai, where beautiful courtesans mercilessly compete for the patronage of wealthy gentlemen. For the women, the contest is deadly serious, a perilous game of economic survival that, if played well, can set them up for life as mistresses of the rich and prominent. There is no room for error, however: Erotic power is hard to achieve and harder to maintain, especially in the loftiest social circles.
Enter veteran seducer, Magic Gourd, formerly one of Shanghai’s “Top Ten Beauties” and now the advisor and attendant of Violet, an aspiring but inexperienced courtesan. Violet may have the youth and the allure, but Magic Gourd has the cunning and the knowledge without which the younger woman is sure to fail. These ancient tricks of the trade aren’t written down, though; to pass them on to her student, Magic Gourd must reach back into her own professional past, bringing her lessons alive with stories and anecdotes from a career spent charming and manipulating men who should have known better but rarely did.
The world of sexual intrigue that Tan reveals in Rules for Virgins actually existed once, and she spares no detail in recreating it. But this story is more than intriguing (and sometimes shocking) historical literary fiction. Besides inviting us inside a life that few writers but Tan could conjure up, the intimate confessions of Magic Gourd add up to a kind of military manual for the War of the Sexes’ female combatants. The wisdom conveyed is ancient, specific, and timeless, exposing the workings of vanity and folly, calculation and desire that define the mysterious human heart.
©2011 Amy Tan (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Quiltrobin on 11-14-13

Loved it - oh so briefly!

I've got to agree with other reviewers that this story was too short. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was just an appetizer. Now that my appetite has been whetted, I want more! Dear Amy Tan, are you listening? I'm feeling kind of teased, but maybe that was the point, it's part of the courtesan's repertoire?

Short as it is, I do recommend this tasty morsel.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Marilyn on 01-28-14

Where was my Magic Gourd?

If you could sum up Rules for Virgins in three words, what would they be?

Captivating, interesting and informative.

What did you like best about this story?

I felt as if I was Violet listening to a wise mentor, envisioning myself as a courtesan.

Any additional comments?

This book is short about 2 hrs, my biggest problem was it was hard to work and listen to since it was very detailed.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Adrienne Curry on 08-27-16

LOVE Amy Tan but this left me wanting!

Amy Tan is one of my favourite authors however this novella left me waiting for it to start. It was like an introduction with no substance.
I read and loved The Valley of Amazement. I don't understand her reasoning to write a dry piece that was exciting in The Valley of Amazement.
The only part of Rules for Virgins that I liked was her own story about her grandmother.
I can't wait to read Amy's next fiction. Her ability to write magic into her stories is brilliant, I am always taken into her worlds with wonder, enjoying every word on the page.

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