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Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction Paperback – December 1, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0140231113 ISBN-10: 0140231110

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140231110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140231113
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,624,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her introduction Hagedorn ( Danger and Beauty ) calls Asian American literature "too confining a term" for these wide-ranging works. And indeed while the short stories and novel excerpts, nearly half being published for the first time, provide interesting reading, they seem to lack a cohering premise. Moreover, pieces by well-known writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan are not particularly fresh. The most successful of the works paint sharp portraits of individuals. Gish Jen's Catholic-school girl is eager to work miracles, especially after her mother falls from a bedroom window during a fight with her father. Cynthia Kadohata's domineering grandmother insists on telling inappropriate stories and affects the narrator so forcefully that the girl swears, "Anything she does, I never will." Marilyn Chin's Moon is "a little fat Chinese girl" who is humiliated by two boys who urinate on her, and subsequently by her parents, then wreaks supernatural revenge. Cherylene Lee's narrator tells how her brother came to be a flame diver despite their overprotective parents' disapproval and muses that "Perhaps there is a Chinese gene encoded with a protein for caution."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

These stories by 48 Asian American authors writing in English are from India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Malaysia. Some are established writers (Carlos Bulosan, Diana Chang, Jessica Hagedorn, Gish Jen, Maxine Hong Kingston, David Wong Louie, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, and Wakako Yamauchi), but most are emerging writers. All express the difficulties, ambiguities, vagaries, and joys of living in America as Asians. Particularly effective are Meena Alexander's "Manhattan Music," Kimiko Hahn's "Afterbirth," Louie's "Pangs of Love," Darrell Lum's "Fourscore and Seven Years Ago" in pidgin, and Shawn Wong's "Eye Contact." Recommended for public libraries.
- Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jack B on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jack, just because somebody doesn't happen to agree with your personal perspective doesn't make them "ignorant". Your perspective on the Chan and Moto films isn't the only valid view. The great Keye Luke's perspective was that the Chan films were not racist and many agree with him. That doesn't make Chan supporters "racist" or "ignorant". Their perspective is every bit as valid as yours. Chan is a symbol of justice and wisdom to many people. You should take note of the fact that he is portrayed as being superior to the white characters in HIS movies. The same is true of the Moto films. Individuals who truly love and respect Chan and Moto as cinematic heroes are in no way attempting to be "ignorant" or "racist".
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
As an Asian American not-yet-published writer myself, I find this to be a incredibly valuable collection of some of the most talented Asian American authors today. As Jessica Hagedorn wrote in her introduction, for too long has America seen Asian Americans with this Charlie Chan/Mr. Moto image in their minds, all with bad foreign accents, and goof-ball social ettiquette, spouting out fortune cookie wisdom and acting in some subservient role to another stronger, non-Asian character. Well, we're not. And it's about time that the Asian community steps up to dispel these stereotypes.
This anthology is such a refreshing composite of different writing styles and stories, depicting Asian Americans in as many unique ways as can fit onto 569 pages. I recommend this book to anyone who was ever tired of being trapped in the immigrant image (or locked in any steretype), and is ready to help break the silence.
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17 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
The previous reviewer of this book said: Chan/Moto movies....''all with bad foreign accents, and goof-ball social ettiquette, spouting out fortune cookie wisdom and acting in some subservient role to another stronger, non-Asian character." Clearly she's never seen the movies. Though Moto and Chan were not played by Asian actors, true, the Asian characters they played NEVER were 'subservient' to non-Asian characters. Their police/secret service colleagues - on their level, always treated them with respect. Lesser policement displayed prejudices - but they were used for comic relief and were always shown up. Chan was always unfailingly polite - which made the ill-mannered non-Asians around him seem like the boors they were, and Moto of course beat up on everybody who deserved it. There is nothing denigrating in the Chan/Moto movies for any Asian/Asian-American who is not obsessed with political correctness. (Treatment of the subservient black characters for comic relief is another matter entirely).
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10 of 21 people found the following review helpful By jack C on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lol, it's ridiculous, Moto and Charlie Chan are degrading depictions of Asians...pure and simple; it's racist. Anybody who says otherwise is trully ignorant on the subject (i.e. the previous reviewer..no wonder he/she kept him/herself anonymous). Anyway, I liked the book, but I wouldn't say it's the bible for Asian American literature. Why? Well, some of the authors featured here in are not representive of Asian American literature (i.e. Elaine Kim, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Amy Tan). There's only one book that I know that is trully Asian American, and that would be THE BIG AIIIEEEEE! But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get this book. There are some authors here that aren't sell-outs and this book makes a great summer read!
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