Gunga Din Highway

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9781566890373: Gunga Din Highway

Chinese mythology and Hollywood legends collide in a mulitcultural maelstrom.

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Review:

Ever want to become an actor? Longman Kwan dreams of playing Charlie Chan in the movies but instead finds himself stuck in dead-end roles, quite literally, as minor Chinese characters who die. Providing hilarious insight into Longman's patient humor, the novel is also filled with references to pop culture icons--TV, actors, movies. The Village Voice calls Chin a "literary gangster" with a method to his madness. His novel indeed takes us on a furious tour of four decades, from the '50s to today, showcasing the lives of a dreamer father and his cynical son.

From Kirkus Reviews:

With his brilliant first novel, Donald Duk (1991), playwright Chin accomplished what Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan could not: used Chinese-American culture as a springboard into original and hilarious art. What next? Eccentric movie star Longman Kwan can frequently be seen playing Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Charlie Chan's Number Four Son. Now he wants to be the first Chinese actor to play Charlie himself. In an America where even the Chinese don't take this detective seriously, Longman's plea for the role is a plea for credibility as a person and as an actor. His wife's family criticizes him for choosing Hollywood over traditional Chinese opera, and his sons want little to do with him. Once again, a fascinating premise. The only trouble is that, by page 50, Longman has stepped offstage in favor of his son Ulysses, who's often seen through the eyes of various friends. Scenes of Ulysses in Chinese school or lost in the muddle of racial unrest are memorable, yet the life they describe fails to hold our interest. Chin sets up a situation whereby readers identify with Longman and then are forced to wait for 300 pages--alleviated by only a few cameos--for him to reappear in earnest. When the focus shifts back to a dying Longman, some dozing readers will snap to attention. Bits of the book's dense middle begin to come together, but it's too little, too late. A novel this massive requires a strong plot, which Chin, vacillating between linear narrative and a disastrous hopping about, fails to provide. One wishes he had cut out the book's bulky middle, then filled in the gap with a continued focus on the father-son struggle that first caught our attention. Second novel slump? Let's hope so. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Coffee House Press, United States, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Nothing - not even Lassie - is held sacred when Frank Chin starts off by tilting at Hollywood s windmills and then moves on to topple many of today s other sacred cows. Rich with wicked humor and biting honesty, Gunga Din Highway is a freewheeling saga of two generations of the Kwan family: Longman, The Chinaman Who Dies in countless cinema epics, and his son Ulysses, who despises his father s dream of someday playing Charlie Chan. Joined by a broad assortment of complex and often hilarious characters, their story spans a lifetime - full of sixties protests, Chinese mythology, enduring friendships, bittersweet family conflict, the strains of flamenco guitar, and cameo appearances by Hollywood greats ranging from John Wayne to Annette Funicello. Gunga Din Highway is an impassioned and entertaining American tale, revealing big truths in a compelling, one-of-a-kind read. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781566890373

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Book Description Coffee House Press, United States, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Nothing - not even Lassie - is held sacred when Frank Chin starts off by tilting at Hollywood s windmills and then moves on to topple many of today s other sacred cows. Rich with wicked humor and biting honesty, Gunga Din Highway is a freewheeling saga of two generations of the Kwan family: Longman, The Chinaman Who Dies in countless cinema epics, and his son Ulysses, who despises his father s dream of someday playing Charlie Chan. Joined by a broad assortment of complex and often hilarious characters, their story spans a lifetime - full of sixties protests, Chinese mythology, enduring friendships, bittersweet family conflict, the strains of flamenco guitar, and cameo appearances by Hollywood greats ranging from John Wayne to Annette Funicello. Gunga Din Highway is an impassioned and entertaining American tale, revealing big truths in a compelling, one-of-a-kind read. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781566890373

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Book Description Coffee House Press, United States, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Nothing - not even Lassie - is held sacred when Frank Chin starts off by tilting at Hollywood s windmills and then moves on to topple many of today s other sacred cows. Rich with wicked humor and biting honesty, Gunga Din Highway is a freewheeling saga of two generations of the Kwan family: Longman, The Chinaman Who Dies in countless cinema epics, and his son Ulysses, who despises his father s dream of someday playing Charlie Chan. Joined by a broad assortment of complex and often hilarious characters, their story spans a lifetime - full of sixties protests, Chinese mythology, enduring friendships, bittersweet family conflict, the strains of flamenco guitar, and cameo appearances by Hollywood greats ranging from John Wayne to Annette Funicello. Gunga Din Highway is an impassioned and entertaining American tale, revealing big truths in a compelling, one-of-a-kind read. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781566890373

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