Frances Hwang Transparency: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780316166935

Transparency: Stories

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9780316166935: Transparency: Stories
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With a deceptively simple yet graceful style, and in the tradition of Lara Vapnyar, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Gish Jen, Frances Hwang captures the thousand minor battles waged in the homes of immigrants--struggles to preserve timehonored traditions or break free of them, to maintain authority or challenge it, and to take advantage of modern excesses without diluting one's ethnic identity.

In "Garden City," a weary Chinese couple, struggling to evict their deadbeat tenant, is forced to face the aftermath of their teenage son's death from cancer. And in "The Old Gentleman," a daughter becomes alienated from her father when he finds love--or what he thinks could be love--in his old age. Frances Hwang is a powerful talent, and TRANSPARENCY not only showcases her myriad gifts, but also announces the arrival of an exciting new voice.

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About the Author:

Frances Hwang has a B.A. from Brown, an M.A. from the University of Virginia, and an M.F.A. from the University of Montana. She has attended the MacDowell Colony and Provincetown creative writing workshops, and she was the Olive B. O'Connor Creative Writing Fellow at Colgate University. She lives in Berkeley, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

A largely unlovable cast of hard-nosed Chinese-Americans search for their rightful places in the 10 carefully wrought tales of Hwang's debut. "The Old Gentleman," which opens the collection, finds a Taiwanese émigré widower remarryinig for love, ironically scandalizing his divorced, thoroughly Americanized daughter. The complicated relations between two family branches of émigrés drives "A Visit to the Suns": young women home from college feel "blunted" by their parents' strictness, while the coddling of the boy cousin leads him to sloth and rudeness. "Garden City" follows the aging, fallen-out-of-love Chens, whose tragic loss of their young son from a brain tumor leaves them at the mercy of an unreliable tenant ("the Christian lady") in the throes of her own private misery. Several stories resonate with youthful pangs of heartache and rebellion: "Blue Hour" finds a group of mid-20s friends unsure how to behave among themselves on a New Year's Eve trek into New York City, while "Sonata for the Left Hand" delineates a young woman's disappointing love affair with an exciting, coldhearted fellow teacher at an upstate New York boarding school. More panorama than thematic set, Hwang's debut is brisk and direct. (Apr.)
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