“Obscenely early. A shooting day, so I headed to the set. As I pulled my Tesla out of the garage, I saw a skinny old dark-skinned Asian guy wearing a plain white tee and cargo pants in my rearview. Had I called the gardener to come early?
But this gardener had the wrong tools. I rolled down my window and asked what he wanted. He didn’t answer. His hands were behind him, like a kung fu master. His hair was cut very short, his face deeply lined. Squinting and blinking, he resembled an Asian Clint Eastwood.
I repeated my question.
‘I’m Herbert Lin’s father.’ He brought forward his hands, one of them gripping a sizable revolver. He pointed it through the window, inches from my face.”
Read the rest at BULL: Men’s Fiction
“He looked just like me. He was me.”
“We rented an apartment on Avenue Trudaine. The place was on the third floor and overlooked Square D’Anvers, which was a short downhill walk from Sacre Coeur. A farmers market convened beside the tree-lined square. There was quite a crowd when we arrived. Anne wanted to nap off the long flight, but I was ready to begin exploring immediately. I had never been to Paris, and already, I was smitten.
It was August, sunny and temperate. At the market, my goodness, the colors of fruit, the variety! The olives! The nuts and spices! The French prunes! Row upon row of hale-looking tomatoes and eggplants and strawberries and all kinds of produce that made one imagine the most fertile of soil, capable of sprouting infinite abundance, endless and undying versions of natural sustenance.
I drifted into the square, where a playground and gazebo stood. On a green and red slide, several children swooped down. On the seesaw, twin girls crested and dropped. Though I had never felt any gut-level pinings for parenthood, Anne and I had reached an age when all of our friends had kids. Reproduction seemed like the correct, next box to check despite the fact we were obviously free to choose. A mom and dad sat in the gazebo and observed their playing children from afar, speaking Italian. I inhaled the fresh Parisian air and imagined Anne and myself in the couple’s place.
Then I saw him.
He wore a red turtleneck sweater. He squatted and spoke French to his daughter, who was a toddler and Eurasian. He buttoned up her jacket.
He looked just like me. He was me.”
Read the rest of the story here.
A dream come true, made possible by my translator Dr. Song Xiaoying and my late grandfather, the author Guo Wan Check
When you start a novel, you never think that one day, it’ll be translated and you’ll be invited halfway across the world to talk about it. It was more than a dream come true, because it was a dream I never even dared to dream. It was a dream that my late grandfather, the author Guo Wan Check, dreamed for me. A trip to remember.
Much credit goes to Dr. Song Xiaoying, who translated the book.
Here’s are the editions side by side:
MEDIA COVERAGE IN CHINA
Yangcheng Evening News interview
Guangdong Museum of Chinese National Residing Abroad
Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council
Li Fumin, writer
“Chinese can be more than waitresses.”
“Recent Chinese American narratives have moved away from the weight of World War II, and contemporary economic and social forces are giving rise to a new generation of literature. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnicity in the United States. There are nearly five million Chinese Americans in all walks of life, in all parts of the country. In one story from May-Lee Chai’s forthcoming collection, the insightful Useful Phrases for Immigrants, a family settles in Southern California during the recession, feeling as if they’ve come too late, after the earlier Chinese “bought real estate when it was cheaper, started mindless businesses, and made a fortune.” Lillian Li’s darkly comic Number One Chinese Restaurant is set in Maryland, in the D.C. suburbs. Leland Cheuk’s hilarious The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong takes place in a Southwest town founded by the protagonist’s great-great-grand uncle. Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. the World is a riches-to-rags tale, with a rollicking road trip from Bel Air to upstate New York, with stops in Phoenix, Austin, and more cities along the way.”
Read the rest of “Subverting the Chinese Immigrant Story” by Vanessa Hua (author of A RIVER OF STARS)
I really wanted to go to DonutFest but none of my actual friends were as fervid about donuts as I, so I thumbed FriendHyre on my phone and hired someone for just $20.
I thought of the cost as a surcharge on the event, which had a $50 cover for all the donuts you can eat from the top ten artisanal vendors in The City. I bought two tickets and met up with Damon at 9 a.m. in front of The Copper Mine, that warehouse concert venue by the river. We shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, and went inside. Damon was dressed blankly, dark outer layers, short brown hair, and a squarish, halogen-toned face—combined with his above-average height and thick and convergent brows, I’d be able to find him easily if we got separated.
DonutFest was packed. The warehouse was dark and opaque with theatrical smoke and fog lit by red stage lights, and a Top 40 rap song about cunnilingus thumped. Almost immediately I bumped into a young woman who spilled a thimble of the free pour over coffee from the local roaster with the table by the entrance. I brushed myself off. No worries. The stain was invisible in the darkness because I was dressed like Damon, dark outer layers of durable and pricey fabric from a major multinational brand headquartered in Sweden (recent manufacturing worker pay controversy in some small nation I couldn’t remember). I closed my eyes to inhale the sweetness of the freshly baked donuts (admittedly faint because The Copper Mine has no kitchen, which meant the donuts weren’t freshly made). I listened to the mmm’s and “that’s good’s” from all these people my age and thought: this is youth, this is living, this is why you pay to live in The City.
Read the rest here.