Troublemaker and Other Saints

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9780399147159: Troublemaker and Other Saints

A series of interlocking short stories chronicles the lives and fortunes of the various members of three Chinese families, in such works as "Troublemaker," "Doctor," "Mama," and "Gentleman," which explore such themes as the collision of Eastern and Western cultures, the clash of generations, family, disillusionment, and love. A first collection. 15,000 first printing.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

Interview with the Author

Q> Where do you get your ideas?

For me, writing is an expression of something I feel passionately about. Often, I see or hear something that will move me enough to write about it. One day, for example, while waiting for my appointment at a doctor's office, I came across the Personals section at the back of a magazine. I noticed that several ads, usually by white men, targeted Asian Women. This seemed a little strange to me, and it spurred all kinds of questions. I could understand saying that you're interested in someone who likes sports or dining out is one thing. But Asian? Why? Who would write a thing like that? And, more importantly, who would answer an ad like that? These questions lead me to explore the particular characters and situations in the story "Beauty."

Q> Is Troublemaker and Other Saints autobiographical? Are you Laurel in "Nobody" or Georgianna in "Doctor"?

The characters in Troublemaker are all fictional. I thought of this question ahead of time, and this was one of the reasons why I created such a diverse cast of characters-some are old, some young; some are female, others male. This doesn't mean that certain aspects can't be true to me. For one, Laurel and I both love to read Shakespeare, and so I relate to her passion for it, but really, when I was Laurel's age, I never read anything unless I had to for school.

Q> Which "Saint" do you relate to most?

It's the troublemaker that I relate to most. No, I didn't grow up in Chinatown, and I never assaulted anyone with a beer can. Yet, there's a lot about Eric that I can relate to, like being labeled a troublemaker. Also, I can relate to his frustration and rage at feeling all the invisible boundaries that determine what I can or cannot do because of my race.

Q> In Troublemaker and Other Saints, characters that appear in one story tend to reappear in later stories. Did you intend this when you started writing?

Initially, no. I had the idea to write about these different characters and they'd be tied together thematically. But as I continued writing, characters I wrote about in earlier stories started reappearing in later ones. Characters like Laurel and Seymour came from two separate worlds, and yet, there they were together in "Thief.'

Q>Where are you from? Were you born in China?

I was born in Manhattan and raised in Westchester, a suburb of New York. I've been to China, but only for short trips. My parents, however, were both born in Shanghai. They met in Hong Kong where they married and came to the United States before I was born.

Q> What are you working on now?

I'm writing a novel based on one of the stories from Troublemaker and Other Saints.

About the Author:

Christina Chiu has been the recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship, the Lannon Foundation Fellowship and the Claire Woolrich Scholarship. Her stories have appeared in Tin House, The MacGuffin, and other magazines. She obtained a Bachelor degree in East Asian Studies at Bates College and a master's degree in fine arts at Columbia University. This collection, Troublemaker and Other Saints, was her master's thesis. "Troublemaker" won third place in the Playboy Fiction Contest, "Matriarch" won second place in the El Dorado Writers' Guild Writing Contest, and "Gentleman" won a prize in England's World Wide Writers Contest. Chiu is a cofounder of the Asian American Writers Workshop. AUTHCOMMENTS: Interview with the Author

Q> Where do you get your ideas?

For me, writing is an expression of something I feel passionately about. Often, I see or hear something that will move me enough to write about it. One day, for example, while waiting for my appointment at a doctor's office, I came across the Personals section at the back of a magazine. I noticed that several ads, usually by white men, targeted Asian Women. This seemed a little strange to me, and it spurred all kinds of questions. I could understand saying that you're interested in someone who likes sports or dining out is one thing. But Asian? Why? Who would write a thing like that? And, more importantly, who would answer an ad like that? These questions lead me to explore the particular characters and situations in the story "Beauty."

Q> Is Troublemaker and Other Saints autobiographical? Are you Laurel in "Nobody" or Georgianna in "Doctor"?

The characters in Troublemaker are all fictional. I thought of this question ahead of time, and this was one of the reasons why I created such a diverse cast of characters-some are old, some young; some are female, others male. This doesn't mean that certain aspects can't be true to me. For one, Laurel and I both love to read Shakespeare, and so I relate to her passion for it, but really, when I was Laurel's age, I never read anything unless I had to for school.

Q> Which "Saint" do you relate to most?

It's the troublemaker that I relate to most. No, I didn't grow up in Chinatown, and I never assaulted anyone with a beer can. Yet, there's a lot about Eric that I can relate to, like being labeled a troublemaker. Also, I can relate to his frustration and rage at feeling all the invisible boundaries that determine what I can or cannot do because of my race.

Q> In Troublemaker and Other Saints, characters that appear in one story tend to reappear in later stories. Did you intend this when you started writing?

Initially, no. I had the idea to write about these different characters and they'd be tied together thematically. But as I continued writing, characters I wrote about in earlier stories started reappearing in later ones. Characters like Laurel and Seymour came from two separate worlds, and yet, there they were together in "Thief.'

Q>Where are you from? Were you born in China?

I was born in Manhattan and raised in Westchester, a suburb of New York. I've been to China, but only for short trips. My parents, however, were both born in Shanghai. They met in Hong Kong where they married and came to the United States before I was born.

Q> What are you working on now?

I'm writing a novel based on one of the stories from Troublemaker and Other Saints.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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