Monday, October 20, 2014

Part XXV: Updated List for Asian Men/White Women Literature part 3

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/short stories per article. This article will contain four short stories from an anthology titled How Does One Dress to buy Dragonfruit? and a memoir by Susan Blumberg-Kason titled Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong. Here are the short stories and the memoir:

Huangshan Honeymoon-Jocelyn Eikenburg

Ninety Minutes in Tsim Sha Tsui-Susan Blumberg-Kason

Here Comes the Sun-Leza Lowitz

Chinese Stonewalls-Ember Swift

Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong-Susan Blumberg Kason

Huangshan Honeymoon -Jocelyn Eikenburg

Summary:

The author and her husband are on their honeymoon in Huangshan, Yellow Mountain, along with the husband's father. While going through the honeymoon, the author reflects on importance of family in Chinese culture, as well how she and her father-in-law  eventually became close.

The Asian Hero:

I have to be honest that I read and often comment on Jocelyn's own blog. Jun Wu comes from Hangzhou Region and is the youngest or middle son in the family. He has ambitions on becoming a psychologist, is open minded, cares a whole lot for his wife. Physically speaking, he is slightly shorter than Jocelyn.

The White Heroine:

From what I know of Jocelyn comes from her blog. I think she has a biology or science degree and has a big heart in helping people that are in similar situation just like she. She is also very dedicated and is a talented writer.

The Setting:

The story takes place in Huangshan, Yellow Mountain that both Jun and his father desired to see for a long time, which is why the father-in-law tagged along with them. (As of this writing, the author has celebrated her tenth wedding anniversary.)

About the Author: (Summary taken from the book)

"Jocelyn Eikenburg is the writer behind Speaking of China, a unique blog focused on love, family, and relationships in China which was inspired by her own marriage to a Chinese national. Her essay "Red Couplets" was pubilshed in the anthology Unsavory Elements and other true stories of foreigners on the loose in China. A Cleveland, Ohio native, Jocelyn discovered her passion for the written word while living and working in China, and has resided in the cities of Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai."(From page  163 on my e-reader)

My Opinion:

I haven't met either Jocelyn or Jun Wu in person, but I did enjoy reading about their honeymoon and I also enjoy reading and gaining fascinating perspective on her blog.

Ninety Minutes in Tsim Sha Tsui-Susan Blumberg Kason

Summary:

Shortly after the divorce, the author goes back to Hong Kong and begins to reminisce about her relationship with her ex-husband. Some snippets from her memoir, Good Wife in China are also there, namely how she met his first ex-wife and daughter, as well as her visit to a doctor where she learned devastating news.

The Asian Hero:

I'm pretty sure that despite the name (in this one he is named Li, while in Good Chinese Wife he is named Cai Jun), is the same guy. He has previously been married before and even has a daughter from the union as well as a secret life. (Do read Good Chinese Wife if you're interested in learning more...) He probably has a music degree and is of the generation from either 1960s or 1970s.

The White Heroine:

I think that in the story she is best described as a little bitter at how her first marriage ended, although she is also relieved too. (I will get into more details about her in the actual book)

The Setting:

The story takes place in Hong Kong, although she also briefly reminisced about San Francisco and China where she met the ex-wife and the daughter.

About the Author:(Summary taken from the book)

"Susan Blumberg-Kason is the author of Good CHinese WIfe (Sourcebooks 2014), a memoir of her five-year marriage to a musician from central China and how she tried to adapt to Chinese family life as a wife, daughter-in-law and mother. She is also the books editor of Asian Jewish Life magazine and can be found online at her blog Remarried, Susan lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, three children, and a clingy cat. "(From page  220 on my e-reader)

My Opinion:

I think this is the story that can serve as either an epilogue or prologue because it does tie very neatly to Good Chinese Wife.

Here Comes the Sun -Leza Lowitz 

Summary:

The author and her husband have attempted multiple times to get pregnant without success, thus they decided to adopt in Japan. The story details how they meet their son, Yuto and how through patience and time they all became a family as well as how much emphasis the Japanese place on bloodlines and there is reluctance when it comes to adoption.

The Asian Hero:

The hero himself comes from an adopted family. (I forgot if he is adopted, or his father was adopted?) His name is Shogo Oketani and although not much is told about him in the story, he is very supportive of the heroine's wishes and desires.

The White Heroine:

She herself is a writer and was scarred by some issues during the childhood. She really desires to have a child, but biologically is unable to, which is where adoption comes in.

The Setting:

This takes place in Japan during modern times and there is focus on adoption and on hopes.

About the Author:

(Summary taken from the book)

" Excerpted from a memoir-in-progress entitled Here comes the Sun: A Memoir of Adoption, Yoga, and the Samurai Spirit. Leza Lowitz is a writer and yoga teacher in Tokyo. Her debut young adult novel, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind (Tuttle, 2013) received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Young Adult category. Portions of her memoir in progress have appeared in the New York Times online, The Huffington Post, Shambhala Sun, Best Buddhist Writing 2011, and Yoga Journal. Lowitz's Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, was a #1 Amazon bestseller. Her blog"(From page  234 on my e-reader)

My Opinion:

I have to admit that this is really one of the sweetest stories I've read in the anthology and I'm glad that the author and her husband have found happiness.

Chinese Stonewalls- Ember Swift 


Summary:

The author, who is a songwriter and a lesbian from Canada, falls in love with a man, and the story talks about her feelings when falling in love with a Chinese guy as well as how Chinese see and view homosexuality. She also mentions some portents that she saw on her first trip to China.

The Asian Hero:

The hero himself is named Guo Jian and he is very open minded as well as convincing. If I'm not mistaken he also comes from a band and he is determined to win the heroine's hand.

The White Heroine:

In beginning, the heroine identifies herself as a lesbian, but then she falls in love with a man. She is a singer from a band who has very strong views and opinions about homosexuality in China.

The Setting:

I forget where, but the story itself takes place in China and possibly Canada and its written about their courtship.

About the Author: (Summary taken from the book)

"Ember Swift is a Canadian musician, songwriter, performer, and writer. She has released eleven independent album recordings since 1996, one live DVD project, and continues to perform regularly in both North America and China. Now based in Beijing with her Chinese husband and two children, she maintains three popular blogs through her website and is a contributing writer for Women in China Magazine, Herizon's Magazine, Mami Magazine, Beijing Kids Magazine, China.org and InCulture Parent, an online portal for cross-cultural parenting."(From page  243 on my e-reader)

My Opinion:

If you are looking for a unique love story, then look no further but to this one. I actually liked reading the story too, especially the uniqueness of the heroine and hero.

Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong-Susan Blumberg Kason 

Summary:

A stunning memoir of an intercultural marriage gone wrong

When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started graduate school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the Chinese man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan thought she'd stumbled into an exotic fairy tale, until she realized Cai--and his culture--where not what she thought.

In her riveting memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect traditional "Chinese" wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. With keen insight and heart-wrenching candor, she confronts the hopes and hazards of intercultural marriage, including dismissing her own values and needs to save her relationship and protect her newborn son, Jake. But when Cai threatens to take Jake back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.

Moving between rural China and the bustling cities of Hong Kong and San Francisco, Good Chinese Wife is an eye-opening look at marriage and family in contemporary China and America and an inspiring testament to the resilience of a mother's love--across any border.

The Asian Hero:

He is named Cai Jun and he is of Chinese ancestry, from Hubei. In beginning of the story he is described as having movie star looks and is charming and sweet. However, when he and the heroine get married, he starts to obsess with punctuality, cares more for friends and the Japanese father than his own wife and its hinted that he leads a double if not a triple life. His major is in music if I recall right, and he has younger sisters.

The White Heroine:

In beginning of the memoir she seems to have low self esteem and she willingly bent forward and backward to satisfy her husband, never really stating her own needs and desires, and if she did state them, her husband seemed to put them down or ignore them. She also has an avid interest in China. As the memoir goes on and she begins to see how her choices will ultimately affect her son Jake, she starts to take drastic measures to make sure she will give him a good life.

The Setting:

The story is set in 1990s? in Hong Kong, China, Chicago and San Francisco and explores the themes of culture clashes, unstated desires and repression.

About the Author:

"Susan Blumberg-Kason is the author of Good CHinese WIfe (Sourcebooks 2014), a memoir of her five-year marriage to a musician from central China and how she tried to adapt to Chinese family life as a wife, daughter-in-law and mother. She is also the books editor of Asian Jewish Life magazine and can be found online at her blog Remarried, Susan lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, three children, and a clingy cat. "(From page  220 on my e-reader)

My Opinion:

I loved reading the memoir and I gained a lot of understanding from reading it on what it takes for a marriage to fail, as well as the importance of communicating with a spouse and not holding concerns back. I often imagine that should I ever marry, I will ask my future husband to read the memoir and see his opinion.

Want more of Asian male/white female literature? Check out links for two other lists I've done! 

List One:

List Two:

Be patient, more is coming!

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