Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land

Wesley Brown, Other Persea Books $24.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-89255-161-3
Although the multiculturalistic focus will seem trendy to some, this compilation demonstrates what a tangy stew simmers in the American melting pot. Once an accomplished Berlin journalist, Bernard Malamud's Jewish refugee is haunted by Nazi atrocities and ``a terrible sense of useless tongue''; Mary Gordon's lame Irish American reinvents herself as a secretarial whiz to the exclusion of greenhorn friends; and upon his arrival in Florida, Kim Yong Ik's Korean student finds that a happy-go-lucky American soldier he had befriended at home is an impoverished alcoholic. The cultures represented here are disparate but the deeply felt experiences of alienation and assimilation are strikingly similar. In Jack Forbes's scenario, a basketball team is disqualified from an all-Indian tournament because its tribe is not federally recognized; Gish Jen's first-generation Chinese American narrator has a father who runs his pancake business like a paternalistic overlord and a mother who wants to join the local country club; Oscar Hijuelos's struggling Cubans give safe harbor to newer emigres who then out-prosper their benefactors; and Toni Cade Bambara's young black protagonist gets an unwelcome lesson on the difference between society's haves and have-nots. Brown and Ling are academics affiliated with Rutgers and the University of Wisconsin, respectively. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 404 pages - 978-0-89255-277-1
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-89255-167-5
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