This group is for anyone interested in reading more Asian American authors. It may be fiction or nonfiction and the setting may be the United States or elsewhere, but we will consistently read Asian American authors.
You do not have to be Asian American to join, but you should be able to view the Asian American and immigrant experience through a critical lens, or at least be open to learning.
We will meet monthly for coffee or lunch to discuss that month's reading. I am always open to suggestions for the next reading or a cool venue.
Needless to say, you should only attend if you have read the material. Otherwise, you will have nothing substantive to contribute!
Harassment and creepy behavior will not be tolerated. Please report any such behavior to me. Anyone engaging in such conduct will be asked to leave or removed from the group. Thanks!
From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration.
Amy Wong is an up-and-coming designer in the New York fashion industry; she is young, beautiful, and has it all. But she finds herself at odds with rival designers in a world rife with chauvinism and prejudice. In her personal life, she struggles with marriage and motherhood, finding that her choices often fall short of her traditional family's expectations. Derailed again and again, Amy must confront her own limitations to succeed as the designer and person she wants to be
Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. Lahiri’s narrator, a woman questioning her place in the world, wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone.
We follow her to the pool she frequents, and to the train station that leads to her mother, who is mired in her own solitude after her husband’s untimely death. Among those who appear on this woman’s path are colleagues with whom she feels ill at ease, casual acquaintances, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change.
This is the first novel Lahiri has written in Italian and translated into English. The reader will find the qualities that make Lahiri’s work so beloved: deep intelligence and feeling, richly textured physical and emotional landscapes, and a poetics of dislocation. But Whereabouts, brimming with the impulse to cross barriers, also signals a bold shift of style and sensibility. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.