Saturday, June 7, 2014

Part XXIV Updated List for Asian Men/White Women Literature part 2

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 My Heart in Seoul by Sydney Arrison, The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar, Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford, a short story from The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith, and As the Heart Bones Break by Audrey Chin.

My Heart in Seoul-Sydney Arrison

The Isolation Door-Anish Majumdar

Songs of Willow Frost-Jamie Ford

The Frangipani Hotel-Violet Kupersmith

As the Heart Bones Break-Audrey Chin

My Heart in Seoul-Sydney Arrison

Summary:

Jasmine Sinclair is a successful New York reporter. She’s used to reporting the news, not making the news. After she finds herself in the middle of a major scandal; and relentlessly pursued by the press, she flees the country with her father, United States Senator John Avery Sinclair.

Intoxicated by the night life in Seoul, Jasmine dares to approach a mysterious and handsome stranger. The encounter leads to an unforgettable, passion filled weekend, but upon returning to New York Jasmine soon realizes; that nothing will quell her yearning to be with the man she loves. Will distance, ambitions and family-ties keep them apart or will they find each other again?

The Asian hero:

His name is Wen Hon and he is half Korean/half Caucasian. From what I recall, he's in love with Jasmine and doesn't really act like a Korean guy, at least from my experience. He is about in his mid to late thirties. He is more American than a genuine Korean man.

The White heroine: 

Her name is Jasmine and she is younger than Wen Hon. She's determined, brash and speaks her mind a little too often. She is also of mixed heritage, half Native American and  half Caucasian.

The Setting:

Seoul South Korea in modern times. I do admit that the author should have done more research on culture, behaviors and more on South Korea, because from what I know and recall, very little behavioral accuracy.

About the author:


N/A

My Opinion: 

As I mentioned in my review of the book, I am very reluctant in giving a book such a negative rating, and I'm not insulting the author or am trying to sound racist. I dated a guy from South Korea for two and a half years and in 2014 he is a year younger than the hero. This guy traveled to practically everywhere, lived in New York, and how is he like? When it comes to being publicly affectionate, he is very old fashioned. (No hand-holding or kissing in public, directly never told me he loved me, etc.) If Wen was younger, maybe in early twenties or late twenties, I wouldn't bother harping on this point because the younger generation is more freer with affection than the generation from the guy I know. Besides that point, the behaviors of Korean characters in the book are very inaccurate, sorry to say. If it would have taken someplace in America rather than Seoul Korea, I wouldn't be harping on these points.

The Isolation Door-Anish Majumdar

Typically Asian male often refers to someone from East/Southeast Asia in America, but India is also considered to be part of Asia, thus I hope its okay if I mention Indian male/white female books if I ever find any. 

Summary:

Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.

Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?

In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.

The Asian Hero:

His full name is Niladri Kapoor (Neil) and he comes from a Bengali family. He is an only child and desires to be an actor against his father's wishes. His mother is suffering from schizophrenia and believes she is famous. In personality, he is intense and often gives more of himself than he receives.

The White Heroine:

Her name is Emily (Em) and she is best described as fragile and is blond haired and blue eyed. In beginning of the book she is with friends/boyfriend who seem more to hinder than help her. Like Neil, she also studies drama although I think she was doing it more for the benefit of someone else rather than herself.

The Setting:

I was confused about the setting because I thought it was set in Canada, but apparently it was set in America and it was more in contemporary times rather than past ones. The book itself is also a bit cultural and I did learn some interesting things about Bengali community.

About the Author: 

(From TLC)

As a child growing up in Montreal, Canada, Anish Majumdar’s first creative writing lessons came courtesy of his mother, a former English teacher. Witnessing her struggle with schizophrenia had a profound impact and inspired The Isolation Door, his first novel. His non-fiction work, appearing in many publications, has garnered Independent Press Association Awards for Feature Writing and Investigative Journalism. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife, son, and a growing menagerie of pets in Rochester, NY.
Connect with Anish: Website Twitter - Google +Facebook

My Opinion:

I definitely think that as soon as I read a few more books, I'll go back and re-read it again. Its a powerful book of imagery and displacement as well as trying to take control of life or whatever life is left. Most of the time I felt distance within the book. Its really not an easy or a light read and its more suited for those seeking something dark and different.

Songs of Willow Frost-Jamie Ford

Summary:

Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.

Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

The Asian Hero:

His name is William Eng and up until the collective "birthday" he believes he's an orphan. He is always longing to get back to the past before being an orphan and he's also brave, resourceful, kind and wants to believe in the good despite the overwhelming bad. He was named Will, a version of his mother's name.

The White Heroine:

Her name is Charlotte. She is blind, about Will's age and although her father is living, she lives in the orphanage until he gets his life back together. She wasn't born blind, but was given too many drops as a baby which caused her blindness. She has red hair and fair skin. She's kind, isn't judgmental, and always does her best to look out for William. I suspect that she might have a crush on him.

The Setting:

The book takes place in Seattle during 1920s and 1934, although it takes place more in Chinatown section rather than main section. There is focus on acting, singing and fame.

About the Author:
(from goodreads.com)
born
in The United States 
gender
male

website

genre

member since
September 2008


My name is James. Yes, I'm a dude.

I’m also the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet—which was, in no particular order, an IndieBound NEXT List Selection, a Borders Original Voices Selection, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Selection, Pennie’s Pick at Costco, a Target Bookmarked Club Pick, and a National Bestseller. It was also named the #1 Book Club Pick for Fall 2009/Winter 2010 by the American Booksellers Association.

In addition, Hotel has been translated into 34 languages. I’m still holding out for Klingon (that’s when you know you’ve made it).

I’m an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and a survivor of Orson Scott Card's Literary Bootcamp.

My next novel, SONGS OF WILLOW FROST, should be hitting shelves September 10, 2013! And I'm also working on a YA (Young Adult) series that even my agent doesn't know about...yet

My Opinion:

Although I read it one time, this is a book that blew me away, literally. Its a beautiful story of motherhood, friendship, has a very strong female character in Willow Frost, and is also very rich historically. I really can't wait to get some free time  to read it again. Also, love the cover. In the book, the time stops at 1934, thus its not exactly an official couple, but I still loved the scenes between the two of them.

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith


This is a collection of short haunting stories. The story I will focus on is titled Guests and there is a hint of AM/WF, but its up to the reader to interpret it. 

Summary:

Based on traditional Vietnamese ghost stories told to the author by her Vietnamese grandmother but updated to reflect the contemporary ghost of the Vietnam War, here is a mesmerizing collection of thematically linked stories, united by the first and last story of the collection.

Violet wrote these unusually accomplished stories as an undergraduate at Mt. Holyoke College in an attempt to update the traditional Vietnamese ghost stories her grandmother had told her to incorporate the more relevant ghosts of the aftermath of the Vietnam War on a generation of displaced Vietnamese immigrants as well as those who remained in Vietnam. From the story about a beautiful young woman who shows up thirsty in the bathtub of the Frangipani Hotel in Saigon many years after her first sighting there to a young woman in Houston who befriends an old Vietnamese man she discovers naked behind a dumpster to a truck driver asked to drive a young man with an unnamed ailment home to die, to the story of two American sisters sent to Vietnam to visit their elderly grandmother who is not what she appears to be, these stories blend the old world with the new while providing a new angle of insight into the after-effects of the war.

The Asian Hero:

He is Vietnamese and his name is Tuan. He is tall for a Vietnamese man and has a crush on Mia. He gave her his number four different times, and works at a motorbike repair shop. Physically he is deeply tanned, broad and gently sloped. His eyes are described as "narrow and dark and reminded Mia of tadpoles..." (141-142) Although not married, he is arranged to be married.

The White Heroine:

Her name is Mia and she works at U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. She is blond, seems to detest living in Vietnam and has a boyfriend named Charlie. Her father fought in a Vietnamese War. She also has a habit of not letting Charlie find out about her habit of picking nails or cuticles by getting manicures. She also doesn't like cats.

The Setting:

This takes place in Vietnam in modern times it seems. Other stories do take place in Vietnam and America. Almost all stories have a spectral/ghostly quality to them, but I didn't understand how this one was possible.

About the Author:

(From TLC)

About Violet Kupersmith

Violet Kupersmith was born in rural Pennsylvania in 1989 and grew up outside of Philadelphia. Her father is American and her mother is a former boat refugee from Vietnam. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College she received a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship to teach and research in the Mekong Delta. She is currently at work on her first novel.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed reading other stories but not Guests in particular because I didn't really get how this story is ghostly. But still its an interesting look at Vietnam post Vietnamese War and how people live afterwards as well as what they do.

As the Heart Bones Break-Audrey Chin

Summary:

In Thong Tran's Vietnam, everyone is at war and no one is who they seem not his adopted father, a French civil servant, not his Blood Father, the Viet Cong rooster master, not his pro-American journalist tutor. Like them, the boy from the Mekong Delta cannot escape the war. And like them, he too must create shades of himself to survive. But even a conflicted heart needs a home. Thong yearns for a true father and a cause to give himself to. He chooses independence, liberty and happiness his tutor and the Viet Cong. Tragically, there s no independence, liberty or happiness at war s end. Re-invented as an American aerospace engineer, husband and father the Viet Cong informer must spend another half a lifetime crossing the Pacific as a defense industry dealmaker before he can set down the bones rankling in his heart.

The Asian Hero:

He is Vietnamese and his name is Thong Tran (Tran Van Thong.) He has a topsy-turvy life because at first he learns he is adopted then there is also the fact that he learns he has multiple "father" figures. The Vietnamese War has defined his whole life, and he doesn't really let anyone close to his heart. He is not a likable character for me because he tends to double/triple deal in everything and he uses people without having a conscience. He is a genius and tries to adapt to circumstances. If I'm not mistaken, he comes from North Vietnam.

The White Heroine:

Her name is Julia Anderson. She is described as large and unfinished, as well as ample and sandpapery. She is a simple type that never wrote anything negative about her countrymen, thus Thong Tran and his mentor take advantage of her. She is also older than Thong Tran, he eighteen and she in her mid-to-late twenties? She has dust colored hair tinted with red. She also works at an embassy and seems to fall in love with Thong Tran.

The Setting:

Their affair takes place in Vietnam, while the story itself takes place in America and in Vietnam covering the Vietnamese War as well as 1990s and how they try to recreate the past, the war never really dying.

About the Author:

N/A

My Opinion:

The story itself is interesting, but the characters will either make or break the story for readers. For something similar to The Foreign Student by Susan Choi, then I would recommend the story, although as I mentioned, the characters might cause the reader to dislike the story. 

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