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(Since it’s the last week of National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, I’m listing my ten favorite authors of Asian-Pacific descent – whether or not they’re “American.” So, I present these fine folks in the order they occurred to me.)
- Jhumpa Lahiri
- Amy Tan
- Jamie Ford
- Marjane Satrapi
- Ina Friedman
- Yangsook Choi
- Lisa Yee
- Narinder Dhami
- Tony Hsieh
I recall going with my mom and her friends to see The Joy Luck Club which was based on Amy Tan’s bestselling novel of the same name. While I heard afterwards that the movie greatly differed from the book which inspired it, I looked forward to reading the book someday. Later on, as I read Tan’s books, I became riveted by these relationships. Tan really shines when it comes to rendering a portrait of the mother-daughter relationship.
As the Literature Resource Center says:
Novelist Amy Tan was born in 1952, in Oakland, California, to Chinese immigrant parents. Her father, John Tan, emigrated to the United States in 1947 and worked as an engineer before he became a Baptist minister. Tan’s mother, Daisy, came to the United States after her first marriage crumbled due to spousal abuse; although she had three children by her former husband, Chinese law at that time would not permit a divorced woman to gain custody of her offspring and Daisy kept her first family a secret from her American-born children for many years. It was only after she lost her oldest son, Peter, and her husband to brain cancer that Daisy would reveal her past. Still a teen at the time of the death of both her father and brother, Tan grew up with her younger brother in her mother’s home, a fact that is reflected in the primacy of mother-daughter relationships within her fiction.
Of course, these elements rise to the surface in Tan’s writings. It’s been a while since I’ve read The Joy Luck Club or The Kitchen God’s Wife. Still, these characters and situations remain with me. They became the standard in my future reading. Tan’s writing has been rather formative in my reading life.
Please check out:
- National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Jhumpa Lahiri
- National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Tite Kubo – Creator of Bleach
My first memory of Jhumpa Lahiri was of the author talking about her new novel The Namesake with TV hostess Martha Stewart back in 2003. Lahiri’s description of Bengali immigrants having a son in Boston compelled me to request this book at HCPL. When her novel arrived, I could hardly put it down to eat or sleep.
According to the Gale Literary Database, Lahiri:
Born 1967, in London, England; daughter of a librarian and a teacher; married Alberto Vourvoulias (a journalist), January 15, 2001; children: two. Education: Barnard College, B.A.; Boston University, M.A. (English), M.A. (creative writing), M.A. (comparative literature and the arts), Ph.D. Addresses: Home: New York, NY.
As I’m not a big fan of short stories, I held off on reading her other books for years. Nonetheless, I gave in and was pleased with both of these collections. My only complaint was that I wanted to know more about these characters.
So, why am I making such a fuss? These characters, most of them of Bengali descent, are so different from me but I can identify with them. That’s Lahiri’s magic. Just give her a try and you’ll be mesmerized as well.
For Candice’s profile on Tite Kubo, check out her post “National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Tite Kubo – Creator of Bleach“.
As the U.S. Government sees it,
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
So, why not recognize a few of my favorite authors of this heritage? So, coming soon, Jorie’s Reads will share profiles on:
- Jhumpa Lahiri
- Amy Tan
- Jamie Ford
Who are your favorites?