A profoundly moving journey into San Francisco's Chinatown that is "brutal and poignant, dreamy and gritty, specific to its place and resonant in its implication about what it means to be an American" (Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer).A profoundly moving journey into San Francisco's Chinatown that is "brutal and poignant, dreamy and gritty, specific to its place and resonant in its implication about what it means to be an American" (Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer).Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1992-11-09 This remarkable first novel chronicles a believable journey through pain to healing, exposing the emotional scars--the bleeding hearts and aching kinship bones--of its characters as they try to survive. The Leong family, based in San Francisco's Chinatown, includes three daughters: educator/community-relations specialist Leila, the narrator; restaurant hostess Ona, whose troubled life ends tragically in early adulthood; and Nina, who eventually takes off for New York, where she works as a flight attendant. Heading the clan (in an idiosyncratic, maddening fashion) are mother Mah, a seamstress who owns a baby clothing store, and father Leon, a merchant seaman who lives apart from his wife in an SRO-type hotel, keeping his ``Going-Back-to-China Money'' in a brown bag. Ng summons a quiet urgency from simple language, both in her physical descriptions (such as that of the office of the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association) and in her depictions of the characters' seesawing thoughts and feelings as they move between the Chinese- and English-speaking cultures. She ventures outside the Leong household less often than one might wish, but she lucidly renders those secondary characters, notably Leila's beau, Mason Louie, a mechanic who strives to understand and embrace her relatives but also hopes to convince her to establish a separate family with him. Ng reveals his insight into Leila's moodiness thus: ``He says my anger is like flooding--too much gas, killing the engine.'' With such brilliant details, and in the larger picture of how death and life inform one another, this writer makes a stunning debut. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Jan.)
Publishers Weekly, 1993-12-20 This remarkable first novel explores the aspirations, struggles and emotional scars of a family living in San Francisco's Chinatown. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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