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From the massively talented Gish Jen comes a barbed, moving, and stylistically dazzling new novel about the elusive nature of kinship. The Wongs describe themselves as a "half half" family, but the actual fractions are more complicated, given Carnegie's Chinese heritage, his wife Blondie's WASP background, and the various ethnic permutations of their adopted and biological children. Into this new American family comes a volatile new member.Her name is Lanlan. She is Carnegie's Mainland Chinese relative, a tough, surprisingly lovely survivor of the Cultural Revolution, who comes courtesy of Carnegie's mother's will. Is Lanlan a very good nanny, a heartless climber, or a posthumous gift from a formidable mother who never stopped wanting her son to marry a nice Chinese girl? Rich in insight, buoyed by humor, The Love Wife is a hugely satisfying work.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1968, the Chang family moves to posh Scarshill, New York, where the rhodendrons are as big as the Chang family's old bathroom, and nobody trims the forsythia into little can shapes. This takes some getting used to--especially since there's also a new social landscape, with a hot line, a mystery caller, and a temple youth group full of radical ideas. From the author of Typical American.
Yifeng has come to America to study to be an engineer and then return to China. But soon his name is Ralph Chang, and he has been joined by his ambitious sister, Theresa. She in turn finds him a perfect wife in beautiful and docile Helen. Together they set out to make the American dream come true in every way: making money in fast food, buying a bargain house in the suburbs, pursuing excursions into adultery. Theirs is the story of a family coming together and coming apart, and of miracles real and imagined, as Gish Jen puts her unique stamp on the American dream in this astonishingly accomplished debut.
In eight wonderfully alive stories, the acclaimed author of Mona in the Promised Land and Typical American chronicles Chinese and other Americans as they exuberantly win, lose, love, hate, overachieve, underachieve, and generally take on America--with sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking results.Life now is not what it was a generation ago, but is it any easier? A Chinese-American woman attempts to discipline her Chinese-Irish-American grandchild, only to come up against her daughter's state-of-the-art parenting. A grown man flees to China to escape his disapproving mother, "who called every day, lest he forget she was not speaking to him." A computer expert accidentally books himself into a welfare hotel. A bohemian art student turned young mother finds herself entrenched in PTA meetings and soccer games when her WASP husband opts out and takes off for the woods. A family takes its first comically disastrous steps toward joining a country club. The stories in Who's Irish? prove once again that Gish Jen is an essential writer for our time--a writer who moves and entertains us as she updates the American Dream.
From the much-loved author of Who's Irish? and The Love Wife, a world-sized novel set in a small New England town.Hattie Kong--the spirited offspring of a descendant of Confucius and an American missionary to China--has, in her fiftieth year of living in the United States, lost both her husband and her best friend to cancer. It is an utterly devastating loss, of course, and also heartbreakingly absurd: a little, she thinks, "like having twins. She got to book the same church with the same pianist for both funerals and did think she should have gotten some sort of twofer from the crematorium."But now, two years later, it is time for Hattie to start over. She moves to the town of Riverlake, where she is soon joined by an immigrant Cambodian family on the run from their inner-city troubles, as well as--quite unexpectedly--by a just-retired neuroscientist ex-lover named Carter Hatch. All of them are, like Hattie, looking for a new start in a town that might once have represented the rock-solid base of American life but that is itself challenged, in 2001, by cell-phone towers and chain stores, struggling family farms and fundamentalist Christians.What Hattie makes of this situation is at the center of a novel that asks deep and absorbing questions about religion, home, America, what neighbors are, what love is, and, in the largest sense, what "worlds" we make of the world.Moving, humorous, compassionate, and expansive, World and Town is as rich in character as it is brilliantly evocative of its time and place. This is a truly masterful novel--enthralling, essential, and satisfying.From the Hardcover edition.
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