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A Chinese-Eurasian's autobiographical novel tracing a woman's dual quest for a writing career and romance.
Winnifred Eaton published her books under a Japanese-sounding name, Onoto Watanna, but she was of Chinese ancestry. In this autobiographical novel, Nora Ascouth is a powerless young woman typical of the working class. In the narrative, as Nora journeys from her birthplace in Canada to search out a career, first in Jamaica, and then in the United States, Eaton imparts her own experiences with rejection and the struggle to gain success and love. The autobiographical plotline likewise discloses a remarkable secret, the author's ethnic shame and her reticence to speak of her own half-Chinese identity. "I myself was dark and foreign-looking," Nora says, "but the blond type I adored." Like other ethnic immigrants, Winnifred and Nora are indoctrinated by America's Anglo preference.
Nora's painful search ends, however, as the author's did. She gains achievement as a novelist.
Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954), the author of many popular books of the 1920s and 1930s, was born in Montreal but spent most of her life in New York, Hollywood, and Calgary.