“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.
“Confessions of The Lovestruck”
China launched an unmanned spacecraft named Shenzhou 2. Apple debuted iTunes. And Carrie Kahl auditioned for The Lovestrikes. I remember it better than the day we heard “Blood Hunger” went platinum. She had jet-black hair, blue eyes under thick mascara and eye shadow, and lipstick the color of pork’s blood. She wore denim shorts cut off at the knees and a tank top made out of an XL t-shirt with the sleeves removed so you could see her black bra underneath. Her upper arms were dark with tattoos of knife-wielding skeletons with long hair. Warren, Census, and I had been looking for a lead singer for months. We hadn’t really been looking for a woman, certainly not one as beautiful as Carrie. Even though her makeup made her look like a cross between a vamp and a clown, she couldn’t hide how beautiful she was.
Carrie plugged in her guitar and began strumming an A-minor chord and a C with a scratch rhythm. And then she began to sing. I heard Chrissy Hynde. I heard P.J. Harvey. I heard Courtney Love. I heard my heart in my gullet. I don’t remember what words she sang. But my God, her voice.
Read the rest here.