by Henry Chang
Soho Crime. 2007. 220pp.
NYPD detective Jack Yu must cope with his father's recent death and investigate the rape of a grade-school girl on the fringes of Chinatown, where he grew up and has just been stationed. Meanwhile, would-be gangster Johnny Wong is carrying on with Mona, the gorgeous mistress of his employer, Uncle Four, head of the local branch of the Hip Ching tong and a powerful underworld figure in both New York and Hong Kong. As Yu digs deeper into his case ... he finds evidence of a connection between the rapist and the local gangsters. Though Chang builds less suspense than more seasoned police procedural authors, he presents a fascinating look at New York's Chinese-American urban community and its subcultures.
more about this book and author (ny times)
by Vivien Sung, Richard Weinstein (Photo), You-Shan Tang (Translator)
Chronicle Books, October 2002. 256 pp.
"Surround yourself with lucky objects, the Chinese believe, and good fortune will come to you. In word and image, this exquisite volume ... explores the bounteous meanings of the five-fold symbols of happiness: luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness, and wealth. Drenched in color and lavishly illustrated from ancient and modern sources, Five-Fold Happiness interweaves both Chinese and English text. Peaches, the number eight, the imperial color of gold, a cat with one paw beckoning, or the dragon dance-here are some of the familiar images now revealed in their rich significance. ..." book description
by Louis Chu
Lyle Stuart. reprint 2002.
"In this compelling tale of marriage, adultery, and retribution, Louis Chu (1915-1970) weaves a rich portrait of life in the Chinese-American community of New York City. Its pages come alive with the colorful characters who inhabit the club houses of Chinatown, where gossip is exchanged as easily as mah jong tiles. Mei Oi’s girlish dreams were of the day she might marry and go to the Golden Mountains to live. It was a dream come true when Ben Loy arrived in her native village from the United States to take a bride. To Ben Loy, Mei Oi’s beauty was perfect as a star. Their marriage rites were beautiful, in the tradition of old China. Their honeymoon was exquisite—until the bridegroom mysteriously lost his sexual powers..." -publisher.
by Frances Chung, and Walter Lew (Afterword)
Wesleyan University Press. 2000, 150 pp.
"Before Chung (1950-90) died, she prepared two book manuscripts of poems, naming them Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple. They consist of verse and prose vignettes of Chinatowns throughout America and in other countries Chung visited. New York's Chinatown, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, was her home community. She was acutely conscious of the peculiarity of Chinatown culture--the linguistic isolation of its elderly and newly emigrated, the tension between its denizens' culture of origin and the cultures that surround it, its never-ending individual and collective battles with racism. She wrote tersely and elliptically about this milieu and with laudable impersonality about events in her own life. She never ranted, but made her points with carefully selected details and bold irony, as when she began the first poem of Crazy Melon in Spanish: "Yo vivo en el barrio chino." Three poems appear in both "books." In rescuing from oblivion Chung's artfully provocative multicultural voice, Lew has wisely respected the integrity of her arrangements." --Booklist, Ray Olson
by David Wong Louie
Berkley Publishing Group. reissue 2001, 384 pp.
"...From his first sly pun, Louie's hapless narrator, Sterling Lung, wins the reader's rapt attention: "One day my Bliss is in Iowa, studying dentistry, gazing at the gums and decay of hog farmers and their kin." It is 1978, and 26-year-old Sterling, the bright American-born son of Chinese parents, has already disappointed his parents by choosing the Culinary Institute of America rather than medical school, and he's about to disappoint everyone else as well. His casual girlfriend Bliss wants more from their relationship; his parents want him to marry the Chinese picture-bride they have chosen for him; and his employers, the Waspy women of the Richfield Ladies' Club, want him to cook Chinese food, though his specialty is French cuisine. ...Louie's coruscating novel is full of astonishing writing, but the real delight is his wit and humor as he keeps plucking away the prickly petals of his characters' desires until he finds their hearts." Publisher's weekly.
by Chang-Rae Lee
Riverhead Books. 1996, 346 pp.
"Lyrical, mysterious, and nuanced, the poignant moodiness of this first novel by a 28-year-old Korean American lingers long after the final page is turned. It deals with the imprint the immigrant experience in America makes on a person's psyche. Lee tells the story in the voice of Henry Park, a second-generation Korean who works as a privately employed spy and at home deals with a shaky marriage and the death of his young son. Assigned to get close to an up-and-coming Korean American politician, Park suddenly discovers he must do things he has tried to avoid all his life --face up to his roots, evaluate his loyalties, find his voice, and understand the pain he carries deep within. Beautifully written and intriguingly plotted, the novel interweaves politics, love, family, and loss as Park starts to make sense of the rhythm of his life. As he does, his experiences illuminate the many-layered immigrant experience in general, and the Asian immigrant experience in particular, in a way that many readers will understand and appreciate." --Booklist, Mary Ellen Sullivan
by Gish Jen
Plume. 1992, 296 pp.
"Like Amy Tan and Timothy Mo, Jen's delightful first novel follows the hopeful lives of Chinese immigrants with a great deal of humor and sympathy. As foreign students in New York, Ralph Chang, ``Older Sister'' Teresa, and Ralph's future wife Helen become trapped in the United States when the Communists assume control of China in 1948. Banding together, the three of them innocently plan to achieve the American dream, while retaining their Chinese values. Predictably, just when they appear to have reached their goal, the lures of freedom prove too great. Ralph's greed leads him to sacrifice his family's security to build Ralph's Chicken Palace, while Teresa and Helen find their own passions ignited in illicit ways. Inevitably, the family--the Chinese symbol of unity--suffers more than a few cracks along the way. This is truly ``an American story''--a poignant and deftly told tale of immigrants coming to terms with the possibilities of America and with their own limitations, foibles, and the necessity of forgiveness. Sure to be a popular purchase for public and academic libraries." --Library Journal, Kathleen Hirooka, Stanford Univ. Libraries.
by Ha Jin
Vintage Books. 2001, 240 pp.
"From the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting, a new collection of short fiction that confirms Ha Jin's reputation as a master storyteller ...Each of The Bridegroom's twelve stories–three of which have been selected for inclusion in The Best American Stories–takes us back to Muji City in contemporary China, the setting of Waiting. It is a world both exotic and disarmingly familiar, one in which Chinese men and women meet with small epiphanies and muted triumphs, leavening their lives of quiet desperation through subtle insubordination and sometimes crafty resolve ...Reversals, transformations, and surprises abound in these assured stories, as Ha Jin seizes on the possibility that things might not be as they seem. Parables for our times–with a hint of the reckless and the absurd that we have come to expect from Ha Jin–The Bridgegroom offers tales both mischievous and wise." publisher
by S. J. Rozan
St Martins Press, 2002.
"The plot, like all of architect Rozan's literary structures, is strong and serviceable—all about greed and family loyalties and secrets from the past coming home to roost. But this time it's another man-made artifact, the amazing city of Hong Kong, that steals virtually every scene. In a public park where the city's thousands of Filipina amahs, the women who watch the children of the affluent, gather after church services every Sunday, Rozan tells us that the fences are 'decorated with shopping bags carrying the names of the most upscale shops in the world: Bijan, Hermes, Armani, Tiffany…carrying spicy rice and Spanish music.' And that's only one of the arresting images on almost every page of this tremendously satisfying book." --Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
by Jeffery Deaver
Pocket Books, (paperback) 2003, 560 pp.
"Deaver's latest page-turner begins aboard Fuzhou Dragon, a ship full of undocumented Chinese seeking refuge in Meiguo, "the Beautiful Country," America. The "snakehead" (refugee smuggler) on this voyage is the Ghost, whose plan for a quiet, unnoticed landing on Long Island goes awry when, a few miles from shore, he notices FBI agents waiting at the dock. Not one for loyalty, the Ghost, at the peril of women and children and many other terrified passengers, sabotages the vessel with explosives and boards a raft to safety. ...So, too, do two lucky families who managed to escape the sinking Dragon. Thus begins the manhunt for the Ghost, led by forensics specialists Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs. But the Ghost is on a hunt himself, eager to kill the two families before they have a chance to rat him out." --Booklist, Mary Frances Wilkens
by Christina Chiu
Berkley Publishing Group. 2002, 278 pp.
"Eleven stories encircle each other, each linked by major and minor characters--and a goldfish named Yu, the Chinese word for fish. Very contemporary concerns--family rivalries, anorexia, interracial relationships, and bisexuality--intersect with deeply traditional Chinese family ties and expectations. In "Nobody," the opening story, Laurel, longing for her dead grandmother, is tormented by her parents, her classmates, and the girl next door, whose own sorrows come full circle in "Copycat." A young punk catalyst in "Troublemaker" turns into the desperate robber of "Thief." Laurel spirals into anorexia and is treated by a young Chinese doctor who has a history of bulimia herself in "Doctor." The language throughout is dark and vivid and spares no one; even Yu comes to a sorry end." --Booklist, GraceAnne DeCandido
by S. J. Rozan
St Martins, 1999, 336 pp.
"It's Lydia Chin's turn to go underground as the Chinese-American PI investigates a case that strikes at the heart of Chinatown's dangerously shifting power structure. Four restaurant workers, including a union organizer, have disappeared, and the union's lawyer hires Lydia to find them. But when a bomb shatters the Chinese Restaurant Workers' Union headquarters, killing one of the missing men and injuring the lawyer, Lydia is summoned by the prime suspect, one of Chinatown's most powerful men, to continue the search--on his payroll. With backup from her partner Bill Smith, Lydia goes undercover as a dim sum waitress, slinging steamed dumplings while dodging a lethal conflict between the old and the new orders, and searching for the missing waiters and their deadly secret--before someone serves them their last supper. "
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