American Visa

Overview

1996 Book for the Teen Age, The New York Public Library. Seaweed's story, from Maoist China to her New York emigration. "In this first collection of 11 linked stories, the intimate drama of one traditional Chinese family plays against the

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Overview

1996 Book for the Teen Age, The New York Public Library. Seaweed's story, from Maoist China to her New York emigration. "In this first collection of 11 linked stories, the intimate drama of one traditional Chinese family plays against the

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this first collection of 11 linked stories, the intimate drama of one traditional Chinese family plays against the larger backdrop of the Cultural Revolution. Wang's determined, intelligent heroine, Seaweed, is the eldest daughter of a naval officer and a schoolteacher living near Shanghai. The family drudge at home, Seaweed's hardships continue in a rural village where she undergoes ``re-education'' by peasants as a prerequisite for college. Years later, after emigrating to New York, she tries to send for her sisters, to get them American visas. ``The Story of Ju'' is a gripping, longer tale of how Seaweed's promising student hangs herself rather than submit to a marriage arranged by her abusive stepfather. ``Song of Four Seasons'' is a generous-spirited story of a mother and daughter revising their opinions of one another after many years. Although these are universal themes of sibling rivalry, mother-daughter conflict and love, the dilemma of an intelligent woman with limited opportunities, matchmaking, adultery, bodily shame, they are also distinctively Chinese, drawing on Chinese legends, language and customs. Wang, who holds degrees from both Chinese and American universities, writes simply in a conversational English that is remarkably effective whether she is writing about life in China or in New York. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
YA-This collection of vignettes hangs together through the first-person narration of Seaweed, one of three sisters living in China during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Families suffer from the unexpected decisions handed down by the government, and everyone with ``counterrevolutionary'' ties is deprived of privilege of the most basic kind. Seaweed had been preparing for college, but instead she is sent to the countryside for retraining as a peasant. Arduous work and wise choices lead her to be chosen for English language instruction, which eventually allows her to emigrate to New York City. There she finds more arduous work and loneliness. Her family, however, insists on staying in China, and Seaweed makes sacrifices to send them money. The incidents described are sometimes gloomy, but always realistic and historically accurate. Seaweed, the sister with the least romantic name, becomes a character whom YA readers can easily admire and respect.-Ginny Ryder, Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566890250
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the East China Sea. After three years spent farming in a mountain village commune, she attended Beijing University. In 1985 she left China to study in the United States, earning her PhD from New York University. She is the acclaimed author of the short story collection American Visa, the novel Foreign Devil, two poetry collections: Of Flesh & Spirit and The Magic Whip, and the cultural study Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China.

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Table of Contents

Lipstick 1
Revenge 11
Lishao Village 27
The Story of Ju 35
Subway Rhapsody 65
My Aunt-in-law 81
Fox Smell 99
Chu Jia 117
American Visa 135
Lotus 155
Song of Four Seasons 159
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