ISBN-10:
1543698921
ISBN-13:
9781543698923
Pub. Date:
Publisher:
All That Matters

All That Matters

Audio MP3 on CD(MP3 on CD)

$14.99
Usually ships within 6 days

Overview

Winner of the 2005 Trillium Book Award, finalist for the 2004 Giller Prize, and long-listed for the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, All That Matters is the eagerly anticipated sequel to Wayson Choy's award-winning first novel, The Jade Peony.

Kiam-Kim is three years old when he arrives by ship at Gold Mountain with his father and his grandmother, Poh-Poh. From his earliest years, Kiam-Kim is deeply conscious of his responsibility to maintain the family's honor and to set an example for his younger siblings. However, his life is increasingly complicated by his burgeoning awareness of the world outside Vancouver's Chinatown.

Choy once again accomplishes the extraordinary: blending a haunting evocation of tenacious, ancient traditions with a precise, funny, and very modern coming-of-age story.



Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781543698923
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Born in 1939, Wayson Choy grew up the son of Chinese immigrants in Vancouver’s Chinatown. His father worked as a chef on a Canadian Pacific ship, and the young Wayson often accompanied his mother at evenings of mahjong. He watched Chinese opera, but wanted to be a cowboy.

After attending the University of British Columbia, where he enrolled in its Creative Writing course, Wayson Choy left Vancouver and has lived in Toronto since 1962. He is Professor Emeritus of Humber College and is a faculty member of the Humber School for Writers; he taught English for thirty years until he retired in 2002. He has been a volunteer for community literacy projects and AIDS groups, and for three years was President of Cahoots Theatre Company. He was appointed a Companion of Frontier College in 2002.

A teacher himself for many years, he acknowledges those who helped in his early writing days, such as Jacob Zilber who guided him towards writing a short story called “The Sound of Waves,” which was selected for inclusion by the Best American Short Stories in 1962. Others were Jan de Bruyn, one of the first editors of PRISM magazine, and the poet Earle Birney, who taught creative writing at UBC. “I haven’t searched out mentors; they have been a kind of gift to me.” Choy was already teaching when he enrolled once again in the Creative Writing course; this time he produced the short story “The Jade Peony,” which was first published in 1977 and would be anthologized many times before Choy was asked to develop it into a novel.

The Jade Peony, Choy’s first novel, is narrated by Kiam-Kim’s three siblings — Sister Jook-Liang, Second Brother Jung-Sum and Third Brother Sekky — as they each grope for their own childhood identity within the Chen family in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Their stories tell of poverty and racism. Published to glowing reviews, it became a runaway bestseller in Canada, and was published in Australia, Germany and the United States, where it was selected as a notable book by the American Library Assocation.

It was after doing a radio interview about the book in 1995 that Choy received an unexpected phone call from a woman who had once been his babysitter, with a stunning revelation. At the age of 56 he learned that he had been adopted as a child. The feelings and memories unleashed inspired his second book, Paper Shadows, a memoir of his Chinatown childhood, which the National Post called a “lovely, agile dance of memory.” It won the Edna Stabler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, and was shortlisted for the 1999 Governor General’s Award, the Charles Taylor Literary Nonfiction Prize and the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize.

Choy says, “I began writing the book as if it was going to be a light, entertaining read because I had a happy childhood, but the more I delved into the past, I realized that dark path of the ghetto, the racism, and the family sex life, and so on. So the book turned on me and let me see for the first time what Chinatown meant.” On the other hand, his love and understanding of his deceased parents grew deeper as he learned about them through his research and his writing. Secrets were discovered that his family were not able to share, such as what had happened to the false papers they probably were destroyed to avoid being deported.

Research forms an important part of the evolution of Choy’s work, whether it takes the form of talking to older people about their memories or of looking through old documents and photographs in museums for historical context. However, the depth of feeling in All That Matters evolved from a profound source. While Choy was writing it, he had a severe asthma attack, leading to a coma, during which he had more than one heart attack. As he recovered, he gradually discovered how terrible it had been for his friends and family. Though he had seen loved ones die of AIDS or cancer or old age, this made him realize more about the power of simple acts of decency, and the “deeper level, of connection between people,” something he went on to explore in the novel.

Read an Excerpt

From Wayson Choy comes All That Matters, the long-awaited sequel to the bestselling and award-winning The Jade Peony.
The Master said: “In words, all that matters is to express truth.” -- The Analects of Confucius
Set in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, Choy continues the story of the Chen family household, this time narrated by First Son, Kiam-Kim. We first meet Kiam-Kim at the age of eight, staring at the yellowed photograph of his mother, who died in China when he was just a baby. Kiam-Kim, Poh-Poh (his larger-than-life grandmother) and Mr. Chen, his demure and honest father, journey to a new life in Vancouver’s Old Chinatown. Following the dream of finding gold and then one day returning to China -- wealthy -- they, like many Chinese families around them, find themselves in a country on the brink of the Second World War, struggling to survive in a foreign land and keep alive the traditions of an older world.
Finely-crafted and rich in historical detail, All That Matters depicts 1930s Vancouver in the haunting hues of memory, and sees in the Chen family a fragile miniature of a larger world. Dwelling on Kiam-Kim’s sense of responsibility to his community, Choy unfolds the Chen family’s secrets in thoughtful and luminous prose, leading the reader to a breathtaking conclusion that far transcends the limits of its time and place, and gestures towards all humanity.

Author Biography: Wayson Choy’s first novel, The Jade Peony, spent 26 weeks on The Globe and Mail’s bestseller list and placed number six on its 1996 Year-End National Bestseller List for fiction. It shared the Trillium Award that year with Margaret Atwood and won the Vancouver Book Award. Begun as a short story in 1977, The Jade Peony went on to be anthologized more than 25 times. His bestselling memoir, Paper Shadows, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and was a 1999 Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year. Wayson Choy lives in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

1. the Chen family are deeply traditional, and yet with Stepmother and Jung-Sum and Third Uncle, they are not a ‘normal’ family bound together by blood. What are the ties that bind them together?

2. When Father orders Sekky to listen to his elder brother, Kiam-Kim says, “Father’s words made me suddenly feel that I mattered.” How does Kiam-Kim feel about his place in the family and in society in general? Given the title of the novel, how does this “matter”?

3. The epigraph of the novel also says, quoting from Confucius, "All that matters is to express truth." In Poh-Poh’s old stories, the truth of the story is not always told in realistic ways, but in terms of dragons and Fox Lady and magical combs. Wayson Choy has said that many people who came from small villages in China were not educated but were highly skilled in oral history, and would tell stories to give warnings about good and evil. How does the old wisdom interact with the new knowledge in Kiam-Kim’s Chinatown?

4. Towards the end of the novel, Kiam-Kim begins to see that although it is important to express truth, sometimes secrets and silence can protect and comfort us. How is this paradox explored?

5. "Stay here and die," says Mrs. Chong to her daughter Jenny at the mahjong evening after she has misbehaved by throwing an exercise book at her father. Discuss the tough upbringing experienced by the children in the novel, in relation to the harsh extremes of Old China.

6. Poh-Poh continually tells people who misbehave that they will “die soon,” and she herself says from the beginning that she will die soon, though she is strong and irrepressible for many years. Explore the theme of death, and how Kiam-Kim’s understanding of death develops through the novel.

7. While All That Matters is fiction, it also gives us a detailed account of the lives of Chinese immigrants in the 1930s and 1940s in Vancouver. Does this help to inform our understanding of contemporary society? Compare the discrimination in Old China and Gold Mountain.

8. Kiam-Kim says, “Jack and I took for granted that both our families were too familiar and too strange to explain.” Consider the themes of home and secrets, and explore the ways the Chen family is strange to you, and the ways it is familiar.

9. How does Kiam-Kim achieve a balance between his Old China brain and his Gold Mountain brain?

Foreword

1. the Chen family are deeply traditional, and yet with Stepmother and Jung-Sum and Third Uncle, they are not a ‘normal’ family bound together by blood. What are the ties that bind them together?

2. When Father orders Sekky to listen to his elder brother, Kiam-Kim says, “Father’s words made me suddenly feel that I mattered.” How does Kiam-Kim feel about his place in the family and in society in general? Given the title of the novel, how does this “matter”?

3. The epigraph of the novel also says, quoting from Confucius, "All that matters is to express truth." In Poh-Poh’s old stories, the truth of the story is not always told in realistic ways, but in terms of dragons and Fox Lady and magical combs. Wayson Choy has said that many people who came from small villages in China were not educated but were highly skilled in oral history, and would tell stories to give warnings about good and evil. How does the old wisdom interact with the new knowledge in Kiam-Kim’s Chinatown?

4. Towards the end of the novel, Kiam-Kim begins to see that although it is important to express truth, sometimes secrets and silence can protect and comfort us. How is this paradox explored?

5. "Stay here and die," says Mrs. Chong to her daughter Jenny at the mahjong evening after she has misbehaved by throwing an exercise book at her father. Discuss the tough upbringing experienced by the children in the novel, in relation to the harsh extremes of Old China.

6. Poh-Poh continually tells people who misbehave that they will “die soon,” and she herself says from the beginning that she will die soon,though she is strong and irrepressible for many years. Explore the theme of death, and how Kiam-Kim’s understanding of death develops through the novel.

7. While All That Matters is fiction, it also gives us a detailed account of the lives of Chinese immigrants in the 1930s and 1940s in Vancouver. Does this help to inform our understanding of contemporary society? Compare the discrimination in Old China and Gold Mountain.

8. Kiam-Kim says, “Jack and I took for granted that both our families were too familiar and too strange to explain.” Consider the themes of home and secrets, and explore the ways the Chen family is strange to you, and the ways it is familiar.

9. How does Kiam-Kim achieve a balance between his Old China brain and his Gold Mountain brain?

Customer Reviews