Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Part XXIII Updated List for Asian Men/White Women Literature part 1

In Part II Asian Male and White Female Novels, I have given some examples of some of the particular in depth Asian male novels and white female novels that I have read and enjoyed. It has been three years since I published that article and a lot more books with that particular topic were published and discovered. I have thought long and hard on how to separate the books I have discovered and ones I have talked about. I think I will do five AM/WF novels per article. This article will contain Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina Yoshida McMorris (She goes by Kristina McMorris, but I prefer to write her name with her Japanese maiden name.), The Thread of a Thousand Miles by Alan Yang, a short novella titled Red Shoes for Lab BLues by D.B. Sieders, The Foreign Student by Susan Choi and Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han.

Spoilers from:

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina Yoshida McMorris

The Thread of a Thousand Miles by Alan Yang

Red Shoes for Lab Blues by D.B. Sieders

The Foreign Student by Susan Choi

'Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han


Summary:

Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.


The Asian hero:

His name is Lane (Takeshi) Moritomo and he is of Japanese-American ancestry. He has a younger sister named Emma and is possibly in early 20s in beginning of the story. (His age is not given.) He has political aspirations and is friends with Maddie's brother named TJ. He prefers more American products and food rather than his native Japanese ones. 

The White heroine: 

Her full name is Madeline Kern and she is 19 in beginning of the story. She is dating Lane secretly and is a violin player and wants to attend the prestigious Julliard University. Her mother is dead and her father too depressed to cope in real world. She has auburn hair. 

The Setting:

This takes place in Los Angeles California in November of 1941 up until 1945 or 1946 a little past the WWII. It touches on the subject of interracial marriage, WWII, racism, battles, reasons for war, internment camp (Manzanar), friendship, brotherhood and so forth. 

About the author:

She herself is the daughter of a Japanese immigrant father and an American mother. (from the book-flap) "Kristina McMorris is an award-winning author and graduate of Pepperdine University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. This is her second novel, following her widely praised debut, Letters from home. For more, visit KristinaMcmorris.com" 

My Opinion: 

No matter how many times I have read this novel since its publication in 2012, I still feel sad and often heartbroken by the ending, which I will not spoil. I also still hold to my opinion in the review that there didn't seem enough character exploration and the impact of certain scenes. While the ending is well written and powerful, I felt that there was a lot that was cut out. I would recommend for the book to be read in order to get to know one of the most amazing Asian male characters.

Summary:

The encounter of an Asian man and an American woman in Guangzhou sparked a love affair that would put the age-old Chinese saying, "A marriage of a thousand miles is strung by a single thread," to test. Jin and Lucia came from two different worlds. They had no clue about each other's identity or their ancestors' secret past. Their romance was couched in a family saga dating back to World War II. Their passion for each other grew and blossomed at a time when love was forbidden. How would Jin and Lucia's family mysteries be unraveled? Would they be able to tackle the odds against them? Would their love ever be consummated? Filled with twists and turns, this story puts Jin and Lucia through a gauntlet of trouble and turmoil, leading up to a final climactic realization.

The Asian hero:

His full name is Jin-Zhi Nan and he is of Chinese ancestry, although there is possibility that he might be a quarter American. He is described as dark haired, double-lidded and having hazel eyes. He is a student at South China Tech and best way to describe him is brave, loyal, considerate, curious and spiritual. I am not quite sure if he is older or younger than Lucia and he has aspirations and desire to find out more about his family's mysterious past. 

The White heroine:

Her name is Lucia Bennett and she is blond haired and blue eyed. She goes from Pennsylvania to China to become a teacher. There she meets Jin and asks him to help her with Chinese. I would guess she is a bit religious, curious, intelligent and modern. She also wants the best for others. Her grandparents and parents have lived in China and have an interesting past there. 

The Setting:

This takes place in China and in some cases in Pennsylvania. It also takes place in 1940s as well as late 1970s possibly? or 1980s? and it spans a year or so from when Jin travels to university and Lucia to China and also touches on marriage, mysterious family secrets, censorship and the no-dating policy in Chinese universities. 

About the author:

Alan Yang was born in the Middle Kingdom, the way the Chinese call their country, but has lived most of his adult life in the United States. He taught at Jinan University in Guangzhou and is currently a universtiy professor in New Jersey. Most of his previous publications are in the realm of social sciences. The Thread of a Thousand Miles is his first novel.

My Opinion:

Read it in few settings as possible because too many characters can make it somewhat impossible to enjoy. For all its faults, I enjoyed the atmosphere and setting as well as the potential relationship between Lucia and Jin. It also has interesting history when it comes to China.

Summary:

Can love and sex overcome logic and sabotage...

Dr. Stacey Jamison thinks she's close to validating PharmEx's new anti-cancer drug. Her budding independent career, her boss’s tenure, and a ton of research dollars are at stake. She just has to prove Compound Z kills cancer cells.

So far, it doesn’t.

Then along comes Dr. Henry Chan, the department’s new rising star. Henry is smart, handsome, and confident. He’s also captivated by the enigmatic Dr. Jamison, who seems oblivious to her own charms. But will Henry risk his heart when the research project is at stake?

A rival drug company, an insider with a personal grudge, and militant animal rights protestors force everyone’s plans into disarray. Can their love overcome everything being thrown at them?

The Asian Hero:

He is Asian-American and his name is Henry Chan. He is intelligent, ambitious, determined and is lost between his roots and the native culture he comes from. He is also caring and is in his late 20s or early 30s. He also has trust issues. 

The White Heroine:

Her name is Stacy Jamison. She is a science nerd, works at a university trying to discover a way to stop cancer from growing. She is also intelligent, caring, and isn't trustful when it comes to dating. She is also loyal and doesn't sacrifice friendship for ambition. She doesn't approach men easily. She is not very feminine and lives with a friend. She has strawberry blond hair. 

The Setting:

I would guess the setting is modern and its in a university. The book briefly touches on issues Henry has towards women as well as being Asian. Its short by the way, so there isn't a lot of conflict. 

About the Author:
(from goodreads.com)

url
http://www.goodreads.com/DBSieders

gender
female

website
http://www.dbsieders.com

twitter username
DBSieders

genre
Romance, Fantasy, Humor And Comedy

influences
Stephen King, Jeaniene Frost, J.R. Ward, Charlaine Harris

member since
July 2012

I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent a great deal of my childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and wading barefoot in creeks, chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. We camped a lot, and we loved to tell stories while sitting around our campfire.

Those days of frog chasing sparked my interest in biology, which I pursued in college and later in graduate school. A working scientist by day, I never lost my love of sharing stories. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and am thrilled to be working as a writer. My memberships include RWA and the Middle Tennessee affiliate, Music City Romance Writers.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, two children, two cats, and my very active imagination.

I am represented by Natalia Aponte and Victoria Lea of Aponte Literary.

My Opinion:

I found it a good read, although I wish it was longer and that there were more scenes between Henry and Stacy. Its quick, very well written and has a sweet and believable heroine as well as an Asian-American hero that one admires. The issues brought up are genuine, at least within my knowledge.

Summary:


Highly acclaimed by critics, The Foreign Student is the story of a young Korean man, scarred by war, and the deeply troubled daughter of a wealthy Southern American family. In 1955, a new student arrives at a small college in the Tennessee mountains. Chuck is shy, speaks English haltingly, and on the subject of his earlier life in Korea he will not speak at all. Then he meets Katherine, a beautiful and solitary young woman who, like Chuck, is haunted by some dark episode in her past. Without quite knowing why, these two outsiders are drawn together, each sensing in the other the possibility of salvation. Moving between the American South and South Korea, between an adolescent girl's sexual awakening and a young man’s nightmarish memories of war, The Foreign Student is a powerful and emotionally gripping work of fiction.

The Asian hero:

His name is Ahn Chang (Chuck Ahn, although I prefer to call him Chang Ahn) He is Korean, about mid-twenties. I'm not sure how to mention his background without giving the spoilers away, but here's my attempt; he is a mathematical genius, doesn't mix with non-Asians. He is also shy and doesn't really reveal his inner emotions. He used to do translation work at the beginning of Korean War and comes from a wealthy family and is an only child. He has witnessed horrors of the war and seems to have dormant tuberculosis.

The White heroine:

Her name is Katherine Monroe and her family is originally from New Orleans. Due to a past event that her father never learned of, and that her mother is angry over, she broke all contact with her family. She is best described as insecure, angry, reckless. She has four older brothers but she's not very close to any of them. Like Chang, she's a loner by choice and isn't religious.

The Setting:

The book takes place from 1940s up until 1956, mixing in backgrounds and the current year of Katherine and Chang. It takes place in Sewanne Tennessee, Chicago, New Orleans and South Korea and covers the issues of illicit relationships, first loves, Korean War and America's role in it, and racism as well. (There's a teen/adult pairing in there, thus I wouldn't ask for young adults to read it.)

About the Author:

Susan Choi was born in Indiana and grew up in Texas. She lives in New York City. The novel is based from an interview with her father and grew from an incident. She is also married and has two sons.

My Opinion:

There is a pairing that most people will find, well, unpleasant. (Think The Lover by Marguerite Duras) although The Foreign Student isn't sex oriented. The writing and language itself in the book resembles a little bit of The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras. Its a difficult novel to read and to understand. It took me a few tries to finish it for the first time because I wasn't used to the writing, and because I felt I missed something.

Summary:

Alone in exotic Chungking, beautiful foreign correspondent Stephanie Ryder is warned to keep silent about the atrocities she witnesses in the city’s teeming slums. Defying a brutal Kuomintang officer, she is swept to an electrifying first meeting with Dr. Jen Yong, a handsome, dedicated and compassionate Chinese surgeon. For Yong, a sexual liaison with an American woman could mean a death sentence. For Stephanie, an affair with an Asian man would cause an irreparable breach with her Texas millionaire father. But just when danger threatens to separate them forever, their passion bursts into flame…and carries them on a fabulous romantic journey from the stormy depths of fear and desire, to the moving affirmation that enduring love is truly a many-splendored thing.

The Asian Hero:

Jen En Yong (Means abundant grace,) of Chinese ancestry is a very dedicated doctor who is best described as romantic, loyal, strong, capable of weathering hurricanes and thunderstorms in life as well as completely in love with Stephanie. In the beginning of the story he is perhaps twenty seven or twenty eight, while at the end he is in his early fifties. His family comes from a poor class origin (wealth,) and are originally from Shangtung. Stephanie is his one and only. He has multiple aunts and uncles and twin sisters by the name of Calthrop and Coral. Physically he is described as having blue-black hair, seamless skin, and confident. 

The White Heroine:

Stephanie Ryder herself comes from a wealthy family and has brown hair and eyes. In beginning of the book she is a foreign correspondent for a magazine and is very open minded as well as rash and not careful when it comes to China. She is in her early twenties at the beginning of the story and perhaps early forties towards the end. For most of the book she is either a writer or a translator. Her mother is an aristocrat from France while her father is a self-made millionaire. She has a younger brother named Jimmy. Her family lives in Dallas Texas 

The Setting:

The story takes place in China from 1944 up until early 1970s if I'm not mistaken and covers China's revolutions and progresses during those years, as well as America's paranoia of anything that speaks the world communism. The story also takes place in Dallas Texas and New York and various places in China. 

About the Author:

Han Suyin has funded the Chinese Writers Association to create the "National Rainbow Award for Best Literary Translation" (which is now the Lu Xun Literary Award for Best Literary Translation) to help develop literature translation in China. “Han Suyin Award for Young Translators” sponsored by the China International Publishing Group was also set up by Han Suyin. So far it has given out awards 21 times(in 2009).[4]

Han has also been influential in Asian American literature, as her books were published in English and contained depictions of Asians that were radically different from the portrayals found in both Anglo-American and Asian-American authors. Frank Chin, in his essay "Come All Ye Asian American Writers of the Real and the Fake", credits Han with being one of the few Chinese American writers (his term) who does not portray Chinese men as "emasculated and sexually repellent" and for being one of the few who "[wrote] knowledgeably and authentically of Chinese fairy tales, heroic tradition, and history"
(From Wikipedia)

My Opinion: 

This was a rare find in a goodwill store out of all places! I loved Yong and felt that this is a perfect mix of something different yet not overly exoticism. I didn't like Stephanie all that much, but I guess I could hardly blame her for the way life was, or the way everything was. If you are looking for a sweet romantic story as well as a book that spans Chinese history from 1940s up until 1970s, then I would highly recommend getting and reading this book. 

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