The Incorporation of Eric Chung

Steven C. Lo, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $21 (199p) ISBN 978-0-945575-18-4
In his engaginging debut, Lo adroitly interweaves two themes. The first examines what it's like to emigrate to the U.S. when one is young, Taiwanese and not very fluent in English. The second sharply satirizes life in the modern corporation, as seen from the bottom and middle rungs of the job ladder. In somewhat stilted prose (perhaps appropriate for a narrator to whom English is a second language), Eric Chung relates the circumstances of his astonishing success/failure in the business world. Having come to Texas Tech University to study computer science, Eric gets a job as a programmer/analyst for Taltex Electronics. His career languishes until he's picked up by Roger Holton, a fast-talking PR type who has conned Malcolm Coldwell, a nearly certifiable lunatic with tons of money, into financing a harebrained scheme to market in the U.S. small electronic products made in the People's Republic of China. The project founders after losing millions of dollars and derailing the careers of most of the company's employees. Eric ends up as corporation president, with no troops to lead except for his secretary. The problem for both the new immigrant and the corporate employee is the same one, Lo implies: how to establish and maintain your dignity in an alien and impersonal environment. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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