From the beloved author of Mona in the Promised Land and The Love Wife comes this comic masterpiece, an insightful novel of immigrants experiencing the triumphs and trials of American life.
Gish Jen reinvents the American immigrant story through the Chang family, who first come to the United States with no intention of staying. When the Communists assume control of China i
I have long wondered how my Chinese clients pick their Americanized name. How does Xiangxin become John? And Wenxia become Sara? The book solves the mystery! They have the secretary at their college’s office of international education pick it for them. Said secretary rolls through a mental list of all her ex-boyfriends. It’s like spinning the wheel of fortune. Voila, Yifeng becomes Ralph! Even Ralph seems letdown by this process:
Walking home, t...more
Yifeng (Ralph) Chang comes to the US from China to study engineering. He starts out proud of his virtuous ethical ideals and then they disappear. Same thing happens to his sister Theresa and eventual wife Helen. Ralph befriends a Chinese-American named Grover Ding, a millionaire with questionable morals of his own, and...more
But not only does the writing flower just the right amount, being succinct and to-the-point, Jen knows what she's talking about, too. Unlike certain other Chinese-related books...more
Having said t...more
Usually, I love stories about Chinese Americans—because that’s me. I can totally relate to that. Anyway, that’s what this book is about: a boy called Ralph Chang who makes his way to America to study and get a degree. He later marries Helen and his sister Theresa comes to live with hi...more
But maybe I think the other novels better explore the themes of identity, race, and family. Or maybe after reading the other novels the questions don't seem as fresh and thought-provoking to me now. I don't know. Regardless, this is a very good novel, definitely worth reading, although Ralph Chang is absolutely maddening.
For an Engineer Ralph is not the smartest. His sister seems to have her head on even tho she dips a bit to far for me.
Would have stopped reading it, except for the library book club. Can't wait to see what others think of it.