Stock Image

Who's Irish?: Stories

Gish Jen

555 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375406212 / ISBN 13: 9780375406218
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Camerons Books and Magazines (Portland, OR, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since January 15, 2004

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 30.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 4.50 Within U.S.A. Destination, rates & speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Signed by the author at the title page, "~Gish Jen". The boards are very clean, the pages are crisp and unmarked, the book is tightly bound and in fine condition. The dustwrapper is clean, without tears, unclipped, in mylar and in fine condition. (F/F.). Bookseller Inventory # 22298

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Who's Irish?: Stories

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


In eight wonderfully alive stories, the acclaimed author of Mona in the Promised Land and Typical American chronicles Chinese and other Americans as they exuberantly win, lose, love, hate, overachieve, underachieve, and generally take on America--with sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking results.

Life now is not what it was a generation ago, but is it any easier? A Chinese-American woman attempts to discipline her Chinese-Irish-American grandchild, only to come up against her daughter's state-of-the-art parenting. A grown man flees to China to escape his disapproving mother, "who called every day, lest he forget she was not speaking to him." A computer expert accidentally books himself into a welfare hotel. A bohemian art student turned young mother finds herself entrenched in PTA meetings and soccer games when her WASP husband opts out and takes off for the woods. A family takes its first comically disastrous steps toward joining a country club. The stories in Who's Irish? prove once again that Gish Jen is an essential writer for our time--a writer who moves and entertains us as she updates the American Dream.


Nobody writes about the immigrant experience like Gish Jen. What sets her apart from other ethnic writers is the wide-angle lens she turns not only on her own Chinese American ethnic group, but on Jewish Americans, African Americans, Irish Americans, and just about any other hyphenate you'd care to name. Though her tales are filtered through an Asian experience, they are, at heart, the quintessential American story of immigration, assimilation, and occasional tensions with other ethnic communities. The title story, for example, is a neat variation on a time-worn theme: mothers and daughters. The narrator is an elderly Chinese woman whose thoroughly assimilated daughter, Natalie, has married into an Irish American family. Natalie is successful; her husband, John, is not. Natalie's mother comments early on:

I always thought Irish people are like Chinese people, work so hard on the railroad, but now I know why the Chinese beat the Irish. Of course, not all Irish are like the Shea family, of course not. My daughter tell me I should not say Irish this, Irish that.
The narrator has other thoughts on the Irish question as well, including the connection between national diet and world view: "Plain boiled food, plain boiled thinking," she says of John, then adds that "because I grew up with black bean sauce and hoisin sauce and garlic sauce, I always feel something is missing when my son-in-law talk." But it soon becomes apparent that the problems between the narrator and her daughter's family are less cultural than generational, and in the end the mother forms a surprising alliance.

Jen comes at the question of identity from another angle in "Duncan in China," in which a second-generation Chinese American man returns to Mainland China to teach English. Here she manages to delicately suggest the enormity of the differences between the very American Duncan and his Chinese students, coworkers, and relatives. And in "Birthmates" she places her computer programmer protagonist, Art Woo, in close proximity to the low-income, mostly black residents of a welfare hotel that he's accidentally checked into. Class, race, gender, and job security all figure into this brilliant, subtle story that looks at the dark side of the American dream and finds that failure comes in all colors. These eight stories are sharply written, filled with humor, pathos, and more than a few surprising twists and turns. Quite simply, Who's Irish? is a delight. --Alix Wilber

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

Store Description

Portland's oldest bookstore, selling used hardbacks, paperbacks, DVDs, comics, and recent and vintage magazines since 1938.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Private merchant account, no taxes on sales and a standard shipping fee in accordance to rates.

Shipping Terms:

U.S. Shipping:
We ship our books according to media rate through the US Postal Services. This is the cheapest way for us to ship you your books. We will contact you if shipping will cost more than the listed price. Please note that heavier and larger-sized books will cost more to ship as the general shipping cost is used for average-weight/sized books. If you would like your book insured, specifically packed or delivered faster it will cost more and you will need to contact us.

All our packages are wrapped in foam, bubble wrap, peanuts or a combination thereof.

International Shipping:
As a standard for shipping, we ship all our books in a Global Priority Flat Rate mailer envelope. This costs just a couple bucks more than ground and will get there in 4 to 10 business days instead of the one to two months it would for Ground. Priority in a box costs a bit more (about 17.50,) but has that added bit of protection. We're more than happy to ship Ground for $9.00 or Express for $30.00. Let us know what you prefer if the option isn't listed.

All our packages are wrapped in foam, bubble wrap, peanuts or a combination thereof.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order PayPal Direct Debit (Personally Authorized Payment)