In the mid-1960s, Winberg Chai, a young academic and the son of Chinese immigrants, married an Irish-American artist. In Hapa Girl ("hapa" is Hawaiian for "mixed") their daughter tells the story of this loving family as they moved from Southern California to New York to a South Dakota farm by the 1980s. In their new Midwestern home, the family finds itself the object of unwelcome attention, which swiftly escalates to violence. The Chais are suddenly socially isolated and barely able to cope with the tension that arises from daily incidents of racial animosity, including random acts of cruelty.
May-lee Chai's memoir ends in China, where she arrives just in time to witness a riot and demonstrations. Here she realizes that the rural Americans' "fears of change, of economic uncertainty, of racial anxiety, of the unknowable future compared to the known past were the same as China's. And I realized finally that it had not been my fault."
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May-lee Chai is the author of five books, My Lucky Face, The Girl from Purple Mountain (co-authored with Winberg Chai) and Glamorous Asians: Short Stories & Essays, and recipient of an NEA Grant in Literature.From Publishers Weekly:
A heavy dose of bitterness keeps Chai's memoir of growing up in South Dakota with a Chinese-American father and a Caucasian mother from registering deeply. The Chai family, used to liberal, progressive California and New York City, suffered terribly when Chai's father took a post at a rural university: prejudice ran deeply in the little town where they settled. Shots were fired close to their house, their pets were killed and the author and her brother were the victims of racist verbal assaults. The author still seems angry, and her frustration comes across like angsty teenage impudence. She's angry that her naïve father made the rash decision to move at all ("My father had the more pressing issue of his destiny to attend to"). Years later, still trapped in South Dakota, she mentions, "I... couldn't believe my father had made us leave our home to live in this place." And she's angry that she had to attend what she calls "Stephen King High." But it's not all gloom: Chai's mother, a canny woman who smiled in the face of prejudice and amassed her own group of friends, is the book's star. Her courage, recounted by her daughter, saves this otherwise one-note memoir. Illustrations.
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Book Description Temple University Press,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A vivid depiction of the racism suffered by a mixed-race family in rural South Dakota. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9781592136162
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. In the mid-1960s, Winberg Chai, a young academic and the son of Chinese immigrants, married an Irish-American artist. In Hapa Girl ('hapa' is Hawaiian for 'mixed'), their daughter tells th.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 211 pages. 0.249. Bookseller Inventory # 9781592136162
Book Description Temple Univ Pr, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 232 pages. 7.88x5.20x0.60 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __1592136168
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Book Description Temple Univ Pr, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 232 pages. 7.88x5.20x0.60 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # x-1592136168