Monday, May 3, 2010

New Asian & Asian-American Fiction

Five Spice Street / by Can Xue; Trans. by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping
Five Spice St. is an ordinary street in an ordinary East Asian city where routine marks the daily lives of the inhabitants. But everyone's got a story, one which the neighborhood gossip matron “Madame X” is only too obliged to fill everyone else in on.
The Concubine’s Daughter: A Novel / by Pai Kit FaiAfter rebelling against her father when he tries to have her feet bound, 8-year-old Li-Xia is sold to a traveling silk merchant as slave labor. Her luck changes somewhat when she’s rescued by the captain of a French trading who subsequently falls in love with her and teaches her to read and write.
The Calligrapher’s Daughter: A Novel / by Eugenia Kim
In the early twentieth century a daughter is born to Ha, a noted Korean calligrapher and scribe, and his wife. Najin, as the child's called, grows up during the Japanese occupation of Korea and eventually goes to college and becomes a teacher all the while observing as her homeland and its ancient culture are vanquished by the imperial enemy as World War II nears.

Girl In Translation / by Jean Kwok
After immigrating to Brooklyn from Hong Kong, Ah-Kim Chang (Kim) and her mother work long hours in a textile factory, after which Kim returns home to study. And study she does--hard. When she’s admitted to an elite private school, Kim experiences not only the elevated academic standards, but the added pressures of dealing with an unforgiving social hierarchy.

The Surrendered / by Chang-Rae Lee
The lives of a combat refugee, an American soldier and an orphanage minister’s wife all intertwine in this engrossing tale covering the tragedy of war balanced against the legacy and survival of love. In the 1950's with the Korean War waging, a small girl is carried to a safehouse by a benevolent US marine who saves not only her life but, inadvertently, the future of an entire generation.

The Favorites / by Mary Yukari Waters
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Rexford is a “half”—half American (caucasian), half Japanese—meaning her mother’s Japanese family doesn’t really accept her when the pair relocate overseas to Kyoto. But with time, and as she begins to learn more about her family’s tragic history and lineage, Sarah becomes aware of the broader generational world of which she is a product.

Everything Asian: A Novel / by Sung J. Woo
It’s been five years since 12-year-old Dae Joon has seen his father who left for America with the intention of making a home before sending for his family—Dae Joon, his mother and older brother. Upon arrival, Dae Joon changes his name to “David” and begins the process of acclimating himself to American culture, growing and learning life lessons as well as commenting on his family and new community in New Jersey.

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