Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction

Overview

The writers included in this ground-breaking anthology are exhilarating in their differences: cultural backgrounds, age range, literary styles. From Jose Garcia Villa's minimalist "Untitled Story," first published in 1933, to Meena Alexander's "Manhattan Music," with its razor-sharp look at the hip downtown New York art scene of the troubled 1990s, their stories sweep across the twentieth century and across the range of Asian American experience. These characters make love, worry about the future, endure ...
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Overview

The writers included in this ground-breaking anthology are exhilarating in their differences: cultural backgrounds, age range, literary styles. From Jose Garcia Villa's minimalist "Untitled Story," first published in 1933, to Meena Alexander's "Manhattan Music," with its razor-sharp look at the hip downtown New York art scene of the troubled 1990s, their stories sweep across the twentieth century and across the range of Asian American experience. These characters make love, worry about the future, endure hardships. They audition for jobs as anchormen. They are displaced, assimilated, rebellious. They lie and cheat; they betray themselves and others. These are stories about Asian Americans, yes, but, finally, they are stories about life.

A major anthology of Asian American fiction selected by the acclaimed author of Dogeaters and Danger and Beauty. Contributors include Gish Jen, Hisaye Yamamoto, Peter Bacho, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cynthia Kadohata, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, and many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her introduction Hagedorn ( Danger and Beauty ) calls Asian American literature ``too confining a term'' for these wide-ranging works. And indeed while the short stories and novel excerpts, nearly half being published for the first time, provide interesting reading, they seem to lack a cohering premise. Moreover, pieces by well-known writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan are not particularly fresh. The most successful of the works paint sharp portraits of individuals. Gish Jen's Catholic-school girl is eager to work miracles, especially after her mother falls from a bedroom window during a fight with her father. Cynthia Kadohata's domineering grandmother insists on telling inappropriate stories and affects the narrator so forcefully that the girl swears, ``Anything she does, I never will.'' Marilyn Chin's Moon is ``a little fat Chinese girl'' who is humiliated by two boys who urinate on her, and subsequently by her parents, then wreaks supernatural revenge. Cherylene Lee's narrator tells how her brother came to be a flame diver despite their overprotective parents' disapproval and muses that ``Perhaps there is a Chinese gene encoded with a protein for caution.'' (Dec.)
Library Journal
These stories by 48 Asian American authors writing in English are from India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Malaysia. Some are established writers (Carlos Bulosan, Diana Chang, Jessica Hagedorn, Gish Jen, Maxine Hong Kingston, David Wong Louie, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, and Wakako Yamauchi), but most are emerging writers. All express the difficulties, ambiguities, vagaries, and joys of living in America as Asians. Particularly effective are Meena Alexander's ``Manhattan Music,'' Kimiko Hahn's ``Afterbirth,'' Louie's ``Pangs of Love,'' Darrell Lum's ``Fourscore and Seven Years Ago'' in pidgin, and Shawn Wong's ``Eye Contact.'' Recommended for public libraries.-- Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140231113
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1993
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
"Manhattan Music" 1
"Rico" 15
"I WouId Remember" 27
"Melpomene Tragedy" 33
"The Chinese in Haifa" 42
"Falling Free" 60
"Natives" 76
"Moon" 87
"No Sayang Lost" 91
"Dragon Seed" 94
"Eucalyptus" 102
"The Bread of Salt" 112
"Film Noir" 122
"Afterbirth" 132
"The Water-Faucet Vision" 141
excerpt from The Floating World 151
"Twisters and Shouters," excerpt from Tripmaster Monkey 174
excerpt from Itsuka 190
"Tbe Connoisseur of Chaos" 201
"Safe" 204
"Geography One" 215
"Black Korea" 230
"This World" 236
"They Like You Because You Eat Dog, So What Are You Gonna Do About It?" (8 Vignettes) 250
"Pangs of Love" 267
"Fourscore and Seven Years Ago" 287
"Resistance" 296
excerpt from Thousand Pieces of Gold 314
"Razia Begum in London" 322
"The Chauvinist" 328
"A Father" 338
"Fictive Fragments of a Father and Son" 350
"A Red Sweater" 358
"Chang" 369
excerpts from The Stranded in the World 389
"Sugar & Salt" 399
"Walk-In Closet" 407
"Immigration Blues" 422
"Faith" 440
"Alien Relative" 450
"Untitled Story" 462
"Lenox Hill, December 1991" 476
"Talking to the Dead" 489
"Eye Contact," excerpt from American Knees 500
"Face" 528
"Empty Heart" 544
"That Was All" 551
"Photographs for an Album (Third Version)" 557
Selected Readings 563
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