Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land

Overview

The acclaimed multicultural fiction anthology, updated to include recent writers.
Thirty-seven short stories from 1900 to the present, written by some of our best authors—African, Asian, European, Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Native American—follow the waves of immigration into and migration within the United States. These stories are unique in time and circumstance, yet they address a common dilemma: how to reconcile America's mythologized "promise" with its more complex ...

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Overview

The acclaimed multicultural fiction anthology, updated to include recent writers.
Thirty-seven short stories from 1900 to the present, written by some of our best authors—African, Asian, European, Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Native American—follow the waves of immigration into and migration within the United States. These stories are unique in time and circumstance, yet they address a common dilemma: how to reconcile America's mythologized "promise" with its more complex reality. New to the collection are Sherman Alexie, Michelle Cliff, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Diaz, Chitra Divakaruni, Jewelle Gomez, Thomas King, Bruce Morrow, Agnes Rossi, and David Wong Louie. They join Toni Cade Bambara, Richard Bausch, Marita Bonner, Nash Candelaria, Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, Mei Mei Evans, Oscar Hijuelos, Gish Jen, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Kim Yong Ik, Monfoon Leong, Bernard Malamud, Paule Marshall, Nicholasa Mohr, Toshio Mori, Bharati Mukherjee, Mikhail Naimy, Tahira Naqvi, Gregory Orfalea, Grace Paley, Jeanne Schinto, Leslie Marmon Silko, Michael Stephens, Sui Sin Far, Alice Walker, and Hisaye Yamamoto—making this, once again, the most authoritative and useful multicultural collection available.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
In their introduction, the editors state, "[T]hese stories explore the manner in which a diverse group of writers has imagined an America mythologized for its promise and indicted for its practice." More than thirty well-known authors are included in this updated edition, which is divided into four parts: Arriving, Belonging, Crossings, and Remembering. The stories follow the emigration to and migration within the United States from the early days of the twentieth century to the present. The stories in the first section were painful to read because the characters experience the disconnect between their expectations and reality as they arrive in this country. In Children of the Sea by Edwidge Danticat, two people express their love for each other as one sails away to America and the other is left behind in war-torn Haiti. The lyrical language leaves the reader inexpressibly sad. This reviewer's favorite section was Crossings, which contained more humor as the children of the emigrants experience the tension of trying to be fully "Americanized" while respecting the traditions of their parents' culture. Nash Candalaria in El Patron humorously portrays the struggle between generations as the American son-in-law attempts to mediate a conflict between his Hispanic father-in-law and brother-in-law without jeopardizing his marriage. In the last section, three Native American men share beer and a nameless drug as they seek to find a modern-day "vision" in Sherman Alexie's poignant A Drug Called Tradition. This book is a valuable addition to any library's multicultural collection, although the collection is not easy to read and teens will not flock to it. The stories vividly depict America'spainful transformation into a "melting pot" and provide insight into the many cultures that have shaped the country. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Persea, 416p,
— Linda Roberts
Library Journal
In this variegated, engaging, and timely gathering of American stories, 37 writers reveal the dramas of strangers in this strange land. Immigrants at the moment of arrival, in their years-long struggle for belonging and identity, and at the point of recollection and reconciliation face the myriad options for frustration, empowerment, failure, and joy indigenous to their new home. Most of the contributors will be welcome discoveries for readers; the more famous include Bernard Malamud, Alice Walker, and Oscar Hijuelos. They and their protagonists represent Ireland, Korea, India, Lebanon, and other parts of the world. Both celebration and indictment, this eloquent anthology well suits the current interest in multiculturalism. Highly recommended for most collections.-- Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
School Library Journal
YA-- An anthology of 37 short stories from writers of various ethnic backgrounds. A common thread is the immigrant experience--trying to reconcile the ``American Dream'' with what is sometimes a less-exalted reality. An excellent tool for exposing YAs to the multicultural experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892552771
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 283,351
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Wesley Brown, novelist and playwright, is also the editor of Imagining America and Visions of America. He is on the faculty of Rutgers University.

Amy Ling (d. 1999), critic and scholar, was the founding director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
In the Land of the Free 3
The Whipping 12
The English Lesson 21
The German Refugee 35
They Won't Crack It Open 47
A Wife's Story 57
Silver Pavements, Golden Roofs 70
The Blossoming of Bongbong 84
Children of the Sea 98
His Grace 115
Japanese Hamlet 121
New Year for Fong Wing 124
Seventeen Syllables 133
The Lesson 145
The Death of Horatio Alger 153
In the American Society 158
Near the End of the World 172
Don't Explain 182
Hungry Dog 191
The Loudest Voice 199
The Man to Send Rain Clouds 205
American Horse 210
El Patron 221
Thank God for the Jews 229
Gussuk 237
Barbie-Q 252
Birthday 254
Borders 265
How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie 276
Old West 283
Elethia 307
Visitors, 1965 310
The Disappearance 326
The Chandelier 345
Five Jack Cool 356
To Da-duh, In Memoriam 368
Election Day, 1984 378
A Drug Called Tradition 387
Biographical Notes 395
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