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Check out the Releases for 1998!.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] The Concubine's Children
By Denise Chong
Penguin (Viking). 336 pp. $27.99.

AS A CHILD growing up in Prince George, British Columbia, author Denise Chong had always suspected that she might have relatives in China. The missing pieces to the puzzle of her maternal family history were finally provided during a visit to Chang Gar Bin, China, in 1987, when her mother met her sister and half-brother for the first time.
This long-awaited title provides a gripping story of a family divided between the war-torn China of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, and the insular Chinatowns of Canada. It is the story of May-ying, a girl of exceptional beauty who, at the age of seventeen, was shocked to learn that she had been sold as a concubine to Chan Sam, who had journeyed to North America -- Gold Mountain -- with a dream of earning enough money to improve the life of his family back home. This woman -- tragically married to a man she did not love and consigned to a life of labour in a country she did not know -- was Chong's maternal grandmother.
It also reveals the story of Huangbo, Chan Sam's first wife, who patiently endured the hardships of a peasant's existence in war-torn China, left to raise May-ying's two daughters as well as her own deformed son in the poor village of her husband's birth.
Though Chan Sam's efforts in Canada would be responsible for building his family in China a beautiful western-style house, his family would ironically suffer hardship and abuse from the authorities sent to implement Mao Zedong's disastrous land reform policy.
Meanwhile, Chong's mother, Hing -- the youngest daughter to May-ying and Chan Sam, would be raised in Canada, a sea away from her two older sisters, leading a life of poverty, neglect, and heartbreaking loneliness in the Chinatowns of western Canada.
A fascinating family history that spans over half a century, stretching from a small peasant village in the south of China to the Chinatowns of British Columbia. Chong presents a sweeping and emotionally gripping portrait of her remarkable family -- a family reunited after half a century of separation across continental and cultural divides.

Read the interview and review, by Chinacity's Jacalyn Soo.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Disappearing Moon Cafe
By SKY Lee
Douglas & McIntyre. 237 pp. $24.95.

DISAPPEARING Moon Cafe is a restaurant owned by the Wong family in Vancouver's Chinatown. In this extraordinary first novel, the saga of the Wongs unfolds through four generations, beginning with Wong Gwei Chang in 1892. The story focusses on the lives and passionate loves of the women of the Wong family, whose past sins and inborn strengths are passed on from mother to daughter to granddaughter. Moving back and forth between past and present, between Canada and China, Lee weaves fiction and historical fact into a memorable and moving picture of a people's struggle for identity.
Winner of the Vancouver Book Award for 1990 and a finalist for both the Governor General's Award and the BC Book Prize.
Narrative, descriptive, and beautifully written: to date, the quintessential Chinese Canadian novel.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Many-Mouthed Birds:
Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians
Edited by Bennett Lee & Jim Wong-Chu
Douglas & McIntyre. 184 pp. $24.95.

"The Chinese expression 'many-mouthed birds' is used to describe someone who talks too much," the editors explain in the introduction. The writers in this anthology are 'many-mouthed birds' because they are breaking a long and often self-imposed silence.
UNTIL RECENTLY, Chinese Canadians have not produced any formal literature in English, although literary writing in Chinese has been going on in Canada from the time early arrivals inscribed poems on the walls of the quarantine cells where they were detained. Editors Bennett Lee and Jim Wong-Chu cast their nets wide. The pieces in this anthology are by contemporary writers ranging in age from under ten years to over fifty, including an eight-year-old girl raised in Vancouver's Chinatown. Almost all of the writers are newly emerging, some published and some previously unpublished.
Some are immigrants, some second- and third-generation Canadians. Many are from small towns like Port Alberni, Swift Current, and Spalding; others from cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. Others are from more far away locales such as Trinidad, Zimbabwe and Singapore.
The collection includes one Governor General's Award winner, three major book prize winners and a second prize winner in the CBC Literary Competition.
Despite many differences, some recurring concerns surface. One is the question of identity and its loss, both private and collective. The recognition of loss -- of culture, language, history, identity -- haunts many of these pieces while other writers view their changing world with irreverent candour and subversive humour.
A landmark collection, if simply that for the first time, Chinese Canadians speak out about their world and the world around them, from their own eyes and in their own voice.

Find out more about the Asian Canadian community!

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Chinatown Ghosts
By Jim Wong-Chu
Arsenal Pulp. 62 pp. $6.95 paper.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Breakaway
By Paul Yee
Douglas & McIntyre (Groundwood). 144 pp. $p/b.

IN VANCOUVER in 1932, life is an uphill battle for eighteen-year old Kwok-ken Wong. When he's not slogging through chores on his family's struggling farm, he's studying hard to try and win a university soccer scholarship. The scholarship, he desperately hopes, will be his ticket away from his father's constant criticism, the poverty and hardship of farm life, and from the Chinese community that he doesn't feel he really belongs to. But trying to make his way in a white person's world where racism has a strong grip has him wondering if a young Chinese man, no matter how gifted, can make a life for himself.
Dedicated to the celebrated Vancouver Chinese Students Soccer Club that dominated the game in the 1920s and 1930s, Paul Yee's hard hitting novel tells a story that is still timely and true today.

Read the book review from the Rice Paper by Kenda D. Gee.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Saltwater City:
An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver
By Paul Yee
Douglas & McIntyre. 174 pp. $n/a.

This book pays tribute to those who went through the hard times, to those who swallowed their pride, to those who were powerless and humiliated, but who still carried on. They all had faith that things would be better for future generations. They have been proven correct.
SALTWATER CITY (Vancouver) brings the perceptions of a previously diffident community to its own history. A text resonant with often painful first-person recollections combines with 200 photographs, most reproduced for the first time, to form a chronological portrait of the community from its earliest beginnings to the present.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Tales from Gold Mountain:
Stories of the Chinese in the New World
By Paul Yee (paintings by Simon Ng)
Douglas & McIntyre. 64 pp. $16.95.

THIS COLLECTION, by noted historian and children's author Paul Yee, is based on the tumultuous and brave history of the Chinese immigrants to Canada. Drawing on the real background of the Chinese role in the Gold Rush, the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the settling of the west coast in the nineteenth century, Yee has created eight original stories that combine the rough-and-tumble adventure of frontier life with the rich folk traditions that these immigrants brought from China.
Accompanied by stunning and dramatic paintings by award-winning illustrator Simon Ng, this collection will remind Canadians of the important role the Chinese have played in the history of this country.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Jin Guo:
Voices of Chinese Canadian Women
Edited by Amy Go, Winnie Ng, Dora Nipp, Julia Tao, Terry Woo & May Yee (The Women's Book Committee, CCNC)
The Women's Press. 236 pp. $19.95 paper
Based on interviews with 130 remarkable women.

FROM SUZETTE CHAN REVIEW IN CHINACITY: This collection of oral histories reminds us that while Chinese women immigrated to Canada in small numbers until the 1960s, their history in Canada extends past the turn of the century. Through those years, some endured great hardship, isolation, racism, destitution and, within their own families, patriarchal oppression. But theirs are also stories of open-minded non-Chinese and liberal expatriates, of financial and professional success, both modest and great, and of independence and great joy.
THE BOOK IS divided into two sections. The first is a collection of interviews that present the narrators as real people, not just historical ciphers or statistics. The second is organized by theme. Although these women have distinct personalities and philosophies, they nonetheless have familial, social and historical experiences in common.
Jin Guo leaves the reader wanting to know more, particularly about the lives of the women interviewed and also about the larger historical view of the Chinese Canadian experience, including those of Chinese who came to Canada or were born in Canada after 1960, and the current wave of Hong Kong immigrants.
But prompting readers to ask questions is hardly a fault. The stories in Jin Guo are fascinating, and the book is a solid foundation for further study into the legacy and lives of Chinese Canadian women.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Voices from a Community
Edited by Evelyn Huang with Lawrence Jeffery
Douglas & McIntyre. 277 pp. $18.95 paper.

A COLLECTION of interviews with twenty Chinese Canadians. They include lawyers, businesspeople, publishers, journalists, geneticists, biologists, musicians, actors, television producers, designers, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and a distinguished elder who is 101 years old.
Book purports to introduce the reader to Chinese Canadians and provide insights into an ancient culture: editor selects a Confucian analect to describe each individual in the book. These ancient sayings are presented in traditional Chinese calligraphy with English translations. "Extensive research entailed reading every book available that had anything to do with Chinese people in Canada," claims the book's press release.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Fresh Girls & other stories
By Evelyn Lau
HarperCollins. 110 pp. $20.00.

FRESH GIRLS marks the fiction debut for Evelyn Lau. A collection of short stories telling the experiences of a variety of "fresh girls" whose sexual forays cross the paths of anticipation, desire and commerce. The prose is sparse and provocative. Written with insight into the human psyche by the youngest person to have ever been nominated for a Governor General's Award.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Runaway:
Diary of a Street Kid
By Evelyn Lau
HarperCollins. 341 pp. $6.95 paper.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] With Malice Aforethought:
Six Spectacular Canadian Trials
By David R Williams
Sono Nis Press. 226 pp. $14.95 paper.

  • Assassination of D'Arcy McGee by Patrick James Whelan (1868)
  • Treason: The Unique Case of Louis Riel (1885)
  • Eight-Year Old Murderer: Ernest Chenoweth (1900)
  • Hunting, Stealing and Murder: Wilbert Coffin (1953)
  • Adolescent Rape-Murder: Steven Truscott (1959)
  • Passion, Intrigue and Murder: Peter Demeter (1974)

Read the book review from Chinacity Magazine, by Alberta prosecutor Andrew Fong.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] Beneath the Beauty
By Phlip Arima
Insomniac Press. 80 pp. $12.

BENEATH THE BEAUTY is Arima's first collection of poetry. His work is gritty and rhythmic, passionate and uncompromising. His poetry verges on prose because of a desire to tell the stories of real life.
His writing reveals themes like love, life on the street and addiction. Arima has a terrifying clarity of vision in his portrayal of contemporary life. Despite the cruelties inflicted and endured by his characters, he is able to find a compassionate element even in the bleakest of circumstances.
Arima has a similar sense of place and aesthetic as Charles Bukowski, but there is a sense of hope and dark romanticism throughout his work. Phlip Arima is a powerful poet and storyteller, and his writing is not for the faint of heart.

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From China to Canada:
A History of the Chinese Communities in Canada

Edited by Harry Con & Edgar Wickberg
McClelland & Stewart. 369 pp. $p/b.

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Moon Cakes in Gold Mountain:
From China to the Canadian Plains

By J Brian Dawson
Detselig. 256 pp. $19.95.

Read the book review reprinted from the Edmonton Journal by Kenda D Gee.

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Gold Mountain

By Anthony B Chan
New Star, 1983.

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The Chinese

Canadian Historial Association
Ethnic Series Booklet No 9.

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Dragon & the Maple Leaf: Chinese Canadians in World War II

By Marjorie Wong
London, Ontario: Pirie Publishing, 1994, 274 pp., $32.00 hard, $25.00 paper.

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Canadians Behind Enemy Lines:

By Roy Maclaren
UBC Press. 330 pp. $12.95.

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[Asian Canadian Logo] SMALL PRESS

Inalienable Rice:
A Chinese & Japanese Canadian Anthology

Edited by Garrick Chu, Sean Gunn, Paul Yee, Ken Shikaze, Linda Uyehara Hoffman, Rick Shiomi
Powell Street Revue & The Chinese Canadian Writers Workshop. 83 pp. $n/a.

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Yellow Peril Reconsidered

Edited by Paul Wong
On Edge. 72 pp. $n/a.

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Self Not Whole:
Cultural Identity & Chinese-Canadian Artists in Vancouver

Edited by Henry Tsang
Chinese Cultural Centre. 68 pp. $n/a.

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I Feel Japan

University of Toronto Japanese Canadian Student Association
Shard Press. 24 pp. $n/a.

CONTEMPORARY Japan is far different from its image in the popular media. Discover a modern society as its people know it.
Among other features, this resourceful booklet includes a calendar of Japanese festivals, an exploration of Japanese pop culture, a survey of the education system, and a list of addresses for obtaining further information.

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