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Told through the reminiscences of the three young children of an immigrant Chinese family, an uplifting novel captures the realities of prejudice, the mishaps of adolescence, and the horrors of an impending world war, in Vancouver's Chinatown during the early 1940s.
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The Jade Peony, Wayson Choy's first novel and a RUSA Notable Book, is a genre-bending, memoirlike collection of stories about a family in Vancouver's Chinatown before and during World War II. Three siblings tell the stories of their very different childhoods in a world defined by change, each in their own way wresting autonomy from the strictures of history, family, and poverty. Sister Jook-Liang aspires to be Shirley Temple; adopted Second Brother Jung-Sum, who struggles with his sexuality, finds his way through boxing. Third Brother Sekky, who never feels comfortable with the multitude of Chinese dialects swirling around him, becomes obsessed with war games, and learns a devastating lesson about what war really means when his 17-year-old babysitter dates a Japanese man, with terrible consequences.
One of Choy's most compelling subjects is the fluidity of the extended family. The shadowy woman everyone calls Stepmother is a house servant and concubine who moves into the role of mother, giving birth to two of the siblings but never quite achieving full status. Many chapters focus on the powerful effects friends and neighbors have on the family and the importance of their names and titles. Choy's evocations of life in Depression-era and wartime Vancouver are especially memorable: the bewildered air of Little Tokyo during the first Christmas after Pearl Harbor, a burned-down church that Sekky and his grandmother pick through for bits of the stained-glass windows--a metaphor for the family's task of sorting out what to keep and what to abandon as it moves into the future. Like the jade peony of the title, Choy's storytelling is at once delicate, powerful, and lovely.About the Author:
Wayson Choy teaches English at Humber College in Toronto.
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Book Description Picador USA, 1997. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0312155565
Book Description Picador USA, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st Picador USA ed. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312155565
Book Description Picador USA, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110312155565
Book Description Picador USA. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0312155565 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0085741