Disappearing Moon Cafe

Sky Lee, Author Seal Press (CA) $18.95 (237p) ISBN 978-1-878067-11-1
Powerfully and elaborately wrought, Lee's first novel traces generations of a Chinese Canadian family and their ties to (and clashes with) one another, their culture, and their land in China and North America. Patriarch Wong Gwei Chang arrives in Canada in the late 19th century, and he and his family struggle against the poverty and racism of railroad camps. Eventually moving to the safe but stifling Chinatown in Vancouver, they become entangled in many related conflicts: old traditions vs. modern ways; male vs. female roles in the family and community; the Chinatown elders vs. the dominant white society. Sections of each chapter tell different characters' stories at key points in the family's history; gradually one voice, that of Kae Ying Woo, Gwei Chang's granddaughter, emerges. The chronological shifts within sections effectively sustain narrative tension and flesh out characters, although the connections among those characters can be confusing. However, the layers of experience, emotion and cultural identity of succeeding generations build to an abundantly detailed story. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Paperback - 978-1-878067-12-8
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-88894-721-5
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-926455-81-5
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