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Interior Chinatown: A Novel av Charles Yu
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Interior Chinatown: A Novel (utgåvan 2020)

av Charles Yu (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5623831,919 (3.92)73
"One of the funniest books of the year has arrived, a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." --The Washington Post "Fresh and beautiful . . . Interior Chinatown represents yet another stellar destination in the journey of a sui generis author of seemingly limitless skill and ambition." --Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Times Book Review From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.   Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.… (mer)
Medlem:mitchtroutman
Titel:Interior Chinatown: A Novel
Författare:Charles Yu (Författare)
Info:Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc) (2020), 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:currently-reading

Verkdetaljer

Interior Chinatown av Charles Yu

  1. 00
    The Sellout av Paul Beatty (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar satirical portrait and courtroom scene
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» Se även 73 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 38 (nästa | visa alla)
This isn't any Joy Luck Club or Crazy Rich Asians, and there are no picturesque scenes, just a statement of claustrophobic local and dialog within garnished with scraps of attitudinal description. The characters aren't my middle class coworkers from 20 years in computers but the actors and extras working as waiters striving to win better roles and in the flow the difference between roll and identity is mostly erased and is the dream of the better role a dream worth sacrificing other dreams. ( )
  quondame | Jun 17, 2021 |
“You’re here, supposedly, in a new land full of opportunity, but somehow have gotten trapped in a pretend version of the old country.”

“This is it. The root of it all. The real history of yellow people in America. Two hundred years of being perpetual foreigners.”

While growing up in L.A.'s Chinatown, Willis Wu has dreamed about being Kung Fu Guy. His wishes begin to come true when he is offered a role on a TV police show, although he quickly realizes he is still playing Generic Asian Man, the same role he plays in every day life. This inventive, whip-smart novel caught me by surprise. It is presented as a screenplay and appears deceptively simple but it slowly reveals the difficulties and prevalent racism that continue to plague Asian Americans, as they try to build a life in America. This will make a perfect companion piece with Minor Feelings, an excellent essay collection I recently read. ( )
  msf59 | Jun 13, 2021 |
I am rendered nearly speechless by how good this is. It is endlessly creative, an anti-racist suckerpunch, a love letter to those who have come before, and a wagged finger to anyone who thinks racism is less limiting (though it is admittedly less deadly) when you are one of the "good" minorities. Last year I wrote a pretty negative review of a book called Such a Fun Age. that book attempted to bring to the page some low-key racism and a GR friend, a woman of color, got pretty angry about my pan, saying it was the only time she had seen microaggressions well represented in fiction and clearly I missed "the point." I respect her opinion and said so, but I did not back down from my own opinion. In my opinion that book was straight up poorly written. I am glad she felt seen by that book, but the important issues raised in that book deserved a much better writer. Also, notwithstanding the comment of that GR friend, other books have better addressed the impact of microaggressions, but few (none?) have done so as well as this book.

All of this makes the book sound pretty heavy, and it is, but this book is also hilarious. I laughed spontaneously and from the gut many times. Much of that humor has a real bitterness, but the story is so filled with sweetness it never feels like a rueful gripefest. The characters, though confined by labels like "generic Asian man" and "dead Asian man number 2" are incredibly sensitively and fully drawn, even the characters who don't get a speaking role. Another thing that does not bring down the whole is the wildly experimental, often metaphysical, structure. Sometimes when I read modern fiction the story gets lost in unique telling, but not so here. This is a story with a giant heart, there is so much love for family and friends, for the buildings created by some white guy based on his idea of what China looks like, for the neighborhood, and even for television industry (even as it reduces everything and everyone around Wu to generic types.)

The whole of this book is just so damn good, I don't know what to say about it. This is about as viscerally excited as I can ever get by reading. I sort of pity the author that follows. ( )
  Narshkite | May 8, 2021 |
We had an interesting and lively discussion last night about this book. Since we do this online via Zoom and Meetup, some books bring in new faces, and last night this was so.

Precis: Willis Wu presents his life and struggles in a screen-play format, where Chinatown is the setting and we get to see both the 'backstage' and TV set of a typical Chinese restaurant in a typical police procedural show. He aspires to progress from unnamed 'Asian man' through various rungs to 'Kung Fu Man', the highest he thinks an Asian can get in the entertainment business, and a role his father played when younger. Much of the novel satirizes the telegraphed racial attitudes of the entertainment industry as a stand-in for the larger country. Will he break out of the stereotype he himself has embraced? Will he be able to defend his choices?

Some of our members rejected the screenplay format and complained about lack of character development, which I think means they didn't care for the satiric approach. I disagree - I think we see characters deeply in these strobe-light episodes of their lives, especially if we imagine ourselves in their place. Others loved it, or at least liked it. It's easy to read - lots of white space on the page and short 'scenes' - and I'm afraid I rushed through it just because it went down so easily., and maybe because it sometimes made me very sad. If you read it, take your time. It merits an immediate reread in my case.

One of our members, an immigrant himself, objected to what he saw as 'America-bashing', because he said other countries were at least as bad. (Not much of a recommendation, is it?) A woman living in Queens, New York, New York born and raised, related her experience of Asian ethnic stereotyping - she is now afraid to leave her apartment because of the many reported attacks against Asians, even here in New York. The rest of us (comfy white folks) learned something about the country and ourselves and others. Definitely worth the read. Recommended. ( )
3 rösta ffortsa | May 5, 2021 |
This was a solid, tongue-in-cheek piece of metafiction that both satirized and genuinely examined Asian stereotypes in America. The decision to format this book as a screenplay further reinforced the notion that Asian American lives exist in the backdrop of a predetermined script; whether you perform stereotypes for profit/white palatability or you deliberately act in opposition to them, you cannot escape their construct as some organizing element in your life.

The only reason I didn't give this more than three stars is because I wished Yu would've gone even further with the deft platform he built. At first I thought his focus on the lowest common denominator stereotypes was hackneyed. By the time he got into less frequently discussed, more nuanced issues than just "Asians aren't all Kung Fu Guys", the book had ended. I would've loved more from Yu on the racial tension that exists between non-white minorities as a function of white supremacy, the lack of acceptance of multi-racial people in their respective origin communities, and the guilt non-black minorities feel in "raising issues" when it feels their plight is nowhere near the moral reprehensibility of slavery. ( )
  jiyoungh | May 3, 2021 |
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If a film needed an exotic backdrop . . . Chinatown could be made to represent itself or any other Chinatown in the world. Even today, it stands in for the ambiguous Asian anywhere. - Bonnie Tsui
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INT. GOLDEN PALACE
Ever since you were a boy, you've dreamt of being Kung Fu Guy.
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"One of the funniest books of the year has arrived, a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." --The Washington Post "Fresh and beautiful . . . Interior Chinatown represents yet another stellar destination in the journey of a sui generis author of seemingly limitless skill and ambition." --Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Times Book Review From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.   Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.

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