The Chinaman Pacific & Frisco R.R. Co.

Frank Chin, Author Coffee House Press $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-918273-44-4
The Chinese-American experience comes under close scrutiny in these short stories by a noted playwright ( The Year of the Dragon ). A young man ``of the unpronounceable name'' Dirigible is the central figure in this collection; his struggles to understand his heritage are complicated by an American popular culture that enchants him even as it perpetuates abundant and often degrading stereotypes about the Chinese. The prose is frequently difficult and idiosyncratic in its attempt to convey the exotic diction of an ethnic minority; only a motivated reader will find it rewarding to navigate endless faux Faulknerian sentences. An afterword that invites the reader to imagine the effect of a bookwritten by a French Catholic who transcends a religious ban on female first-person expression by describing herself in metaphorthat opens ``Once upon a time, in a once-upon-a-time China, there lived a once-upon-a-time little French girl in a little French hand laundry, in the little French town on the edge of the mighty port city of Canton,'' is perhaps the most successful and certainly the pithiest work. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57121-002-9
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