American Eyes: New Asian-American Short Stories for Young Adults

Overview

In this unique collection of touching and heartfelt short stories, ten young Asian-American writers re-create the conflicts that all young people feel living in two distinct worlds — one of memories and traditions, and one of today. Whether it includes dreams of gossiping with the prettiest blond girl in class, not wanting to marry the man your parents love, or discovering that your true identity is ultimately your decision, these extraordinary stories by writers of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, ...

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Overview

In this unique collection of touching and heartfelt short stories, ten young Asian-American writers re-create the conflicts that all young people feel living in two distinct worlds — one of memories and traditions, and one of today. Whether it includes dreams of gossiping with the prettiest blond girl in class, not wanting to marry the man your parents love, or discovering that your true identity is ultimately your decision, these extraordinary stories by writers of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Filipino, and Korean descent explore the confusion and ambivalence of growing up in a world different from the one their parents knew — and the choices we all must make when looking for a world to which we want to belong.

These ten stories reflect the conflict Asian Americans face in balancing an ancient heritage and an unknown future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This intriguing collection of short stories presents answers as individual as each writer's voice — answers that transcend the color of skin, hair, and eyes and speak to the human heart....American Eyes crackles and burns, warms and illuminates."

— School Library Journal (starred review)

"Strikingly diverse in both form and content...While common concerns link the themes of these stories, the volume as a whole celebrates differences and the beautifully multiple variables of American life."

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``There is no subject that is off-limits for an Asian writer, just as there is no subject that is off-limits to a writer of any race,'' writes Cynthia Kadohata in her hard-hitting introduction to this anthology. The 10 stories here, strikingly diverse in both form and content, prove her point. ``Fortune Teller,'' by Nguyen Duc Minh, for example, affectingly measures the pain and frustration of an adolescent crush by examining the experiences of a Vietnamese American boy whose father has only recently returned from seven years in a ``reeducation'' camp. And in Kadohata's ``Singing Apples,'' the 12-year-old daughter of migrant workers in California conveys the persistent meanness of her grandmother, as well as the guilt the grandmother inculcates in her. An absorbing excerpt from Fae Myenne Ng's novel Bone, set in San Francisco's Chinatown, focuses on characters struggling to make it financially and emotionally in a fragmented world where trust is dangerous. While common concerns-such as home, American pop culture and generational difference-link the themes of these stories, the volume as a whole celebrates differences and the beautifully multiple variables of American life. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Home-what does it mean to Asian-American adolescents growing up in a country that often regards them as aliens? This intriguing collection of short stories presents answers as individual as each writer's voice-answers that transcend the color of skin, hair, and eyes-and speak to the human heart. The search for identity sometimes leads back to Asian roots: in one selection, an adoptee journeys to her native Korea to find her biological parents. For others, the battle takes place on the home front. In the darkly funny, surreal, and painful ``Knuckles,'' a Chinese-American girl stubbornly refuses to eat her mother's ethnic cooking. (You don't need to be Chinese to understand the issues of control and self-destruction depicted here.) Immigrants from Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines tell their stories as well, and each selection is firmly anchored in a particular time and place. This collection surpasses Laurence Yep's American Dragons (HarperCollins, 1993) in the uniformly excellent quality of its writing, the acuteness of characterization, and the sophistication of its themes. American Eyes crackles and burns, warms and illuminates.-Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Hazel Rochman
"Being Asian" is not in itself a subject for fiction, Cynthia Kadohata says in her candid introduction to this anthology that explodes reverential stereotypes about multiculturalism and ethnic identity. Whether the American characters are from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, or Vietnamese families, the focus in these stories is on individual people in all their rage and yearning. There are no sweet self-esteem messages or heroic role models here, but every immigrant kid will recognize the guilt--you never saw so many kinds of guilt--the way ethnic food can choke you, the barriers and nuances of language, the chasm and love between generations. Kadohata's own story is both disturbing and deeply affecting; so is Lan Samantha Chang's "Housepainting," about a Chinese American young woman who tries to rebel against her loving family's expectations for her. Unfortunately, not all the pieces are as good; and the excerpt from Fae Myenne Ng's fine novel "Bone" (1993) doesn't stand well on its own. Still, whether about family, identity, love, school, or work, these stories dramatize our search for home.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449704486
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 138
  • Sales rank: 818,727
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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