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Asian Fetish | Books About White Guys Who Like Chinese Girls

Tom Carter
The list author says: "My first crush was in the 1st grade, to a wispy little Chinese girl named Claudine W. (now a famous television news anchor) in whose honor I once punched my best friend’s tooth out for just so I could sit next to her at circle. But other than the legendary Claudine, and despite the prevalence of Chinese culture I grew up around (I was born and raised in the City of San Francisco), I never had any romantic interest in the Chinese.

Then, in 2004, at the age of 30, I arrived in Mainland China, and there my world – and my perception of the world – changed forever.

Since then, I have spent over 7 straight years and counting in Asia (5 in China, 1 in Japan, 1 in India), including 2 years backpacking across all 33 provinces in the P.R.C., and can say with some authority that Chinese women are nothing like how they are portrayed in white popular culture.

The ladies I have known and loved during my time in China defy all preconceptions. I’m not quite sure how or why Chinese women have been branded as “subservient” or “meek,” but the folks who make these blind generalizations obviously have never been to China.

In the immortal words of Pearl S. Buck: "They are the strongest women in the world. Seeming always to yield, they never yield. Their men are weak beside them. Whence comes this female strength? It is the strength that centuries have give them, the strength of the unwanted."

As a tribute, then, to strong-willed, shrill, beautiful Chinese women everywhere, and the white guys who can't help fall for them, and the cultural differences that inevitably ensue, I have compiled this list of novels that romanticize, dramatize or otherwise glorify Sino-miscegenation. Some call this Asiaphilia or Yellow Fever. But all interracial labels aside, love is love, no?

Note: This list also includes books about Caucasian women who fall in love with Chinese men, for such a thing is known to happen."
The World of Suzie Wong
The World of Suzie Wong
"Tops off the list as the all-time best book about guys who like Chinese girls.  Never mind that Suzie is a prostitute with several thousand notches on her bedpost, or that the protagonist is a broke vagabond artist.  These two find love in spite of their flaws and cultural obstacles, making The World of Suzie Wong the most inspiring novel about yellow fever ever written!"
Letter from Peking
Letter from Peking
"Yes, even Pearl Buck, Nobel Prize-winning author of the classic The Good Earth, was compelled to address the issue of miscegenation, albeit in her own subdued, poetic way.  In this instance, the protagonist is a blonde, all-American female who finds love in Old China, gets married and has kids.  What, then, is written in “the letter”? You’ll have to finish the book to find out."
My Splendid Concubine
My Splendid Concubine
"The lascivious adventures of real-life 19th century China expatriate icon Sir Robert Hart (1835-1911) and his not one but TWO teenage concubines.  China’s Communist-run newspaper, Beijing Today, publicly denounced Lofthouse’s ‘Concubine’ saga as “little more than the author’s own fantasy and Asian fetish.”"
Blonde Lotus
Blonde Lotus
"True story about a young, European female backpacker who arrives in 1980’s China and proceeds to sleep with an uncountable number of Chinese men on her travels from Beijing to Hong Kong.  Gamst Berg confesses her fetish for “virgins” and “men in uniform” and makes no apologies for her bawdy and side-splittingly amusing outlook on Chinese culture."
Decadence Mandchoue: The China Memoirs of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse
Decadence Mandchoue: The China Memoirs of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse
"Englishman of questionable sexual preferences makes his way through the beds and brothels of Old China in this TRUE, historic and controversial memoir circa 1898."
Lust & Philosophy
Lust & Philosophy
"Experimental prose from a brutally-honest writer that you will either adore or despise, but his frankness about his sexuality, and candid descriptions of his various affairs with Chinese women, is utterly refreshing."
Shanghai Baby
Shanghai Baby
"No introduction is necessary for this universally-panned book. Most people say they hate it (the Communists even burned it!) yet it continues to be a best-seller, go-figure. Female protagonist cheats on her impotent Chinese boyfriend with a successful European man, etc."
Petals From The Sky
Petals From The Sky
"Chinese Buddhist nun studying abroad falls for an American doctor. As their friendship blooms, she is forced to make hard choices between religion or passion."
The Journeyer
The Journeyer
"If Marco Polo had a Chinese lover (and he probably did; why wouldn't he?), then nobody but nobody is more qualified to write about it than Gary Jennings. 800-pages of graphic sex, viscous violence and Chinese mythology from the king of historical fiction."
M. Butterfly.
M. Butterfly.
"So what happens when the Chinese girl of your white dreams turns out to be a man? AND a spy for the Communist Party no less?  Yikes!  Considered a contemporary classic and turned into an award-winning play."
Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong
Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong
"Shy young American girl moves to Hong Kong, falls head-over-heels for a dapper Chinese man who pulls a Jekyll and Hyde the moment they marry. Moving to America together and having a child does little to soothe their rocky relationship."
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
"Young Chinese girl goes to London to study and meets an older white man.  Not exactly a dictionary."
Butterfly Swords
Butterfly Swords
"Harlequin newcomer Jeannie Lin debuts into the genre with her 'Golden Heart' award-winning story of a white knight - literally - who rescues a Tang Dynasty princess from the clutches of an evil warlord (redundant adjective use, I know)."
The China Lover: A Novel
The China Lover: A Novel
"Reimagining of real-life Manchurian-born actress/singer Yamaguchi Yoshiko, and her affairs with various Japanese and American men during the 1930s. Yes, I know she is Japanese, but throughout her career she (controversially) played a Chinese woman, so for all intents and purposes of this list she is Chinese."
The North China Lover: A Novel
The North China Lover: A Novel
"Based on the author’s original, award-winning novel The Lover, this sequel/prequel examines the relationship between a twenty-something Chinese man and a teenaged French girl."
Thousand Pieces of Gold (Bluestreak)
Thousand Pieces of Gold (Bluestreak)
"Chinese gold miner in late 1800’s America forced to sell his daughter, who subsequently gets passed down from brothel to slave merchants to kindly homesteader.  True story!"
K: The Art of Love
K: The Art of Love
"True story about the nephew of authoress Virginia Wolf and his sexual dalliances in China."
For Goodness Sake, A Novel of the Afterlife of Suzie Wong
For Goodness Sake, A Novel of the Afterlife of Suzie Wong
"Fan fiction about what might have happened to Suzie and Robert after they got married."
Cornbread and Dim Sum: A Memoir of a Heart Glow Romance
Cornbread and Dim Sum: A Memoir of a Heart Glow Romance
"Chinese man falls in love with a black woman.  Finally!"
The Dim Sum of All Things
The Dim Sum of All Things
"Third-generation Chinese American girl falls in love with a white businessman but is implored by her traditional, closed-minded family to explore her roots before doing anything stupid."
Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever
"Nondescript Asian woman (probably Chinese if her name is any indication) working in Los Angeles as a stripper and having affairs with creepy white guys."
Dragon Bones: A Red Princess Mystery (Red Princess Mysteries)
Dragon Bones: A Red Princess Mystery (Red Princess Mysteries)
"Chinese female government agent (an inspector for the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing), and her American husband get involved in a crime mystery. Is this really the same Lisa See who wrote Peony in Love?"
Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation
"Promiscuous American gal flees to China for forbidden love, but finds true love instead."
Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu
Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu
"Chinese author Murong's 2002 cult book about love and relationships has finally been translated into English; nothing to do with westerners, but still fits in well on this list."
South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China
South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China
"A memoir primarily of reportage, but some eye-opening admissions of sex in saunas and the author's affair with a Chinese transsexual."
The China Bride
The China Bride
"Romance novel about a lordly British fellow who arrives in 19th century China and accidentally falls in love with a Eurasian orphan."
The Concubine
The Concubine
"Harlequin romance, Chinese style! Or should I say, Chinese romance, Harlequin style?"
Cornered Tigress
Cornered Tigress
"Small, innocent peasant Chinese girl falls for big, hairy barbarian.  One of, like, a hundred in the “Tigress” series.  Jade Lee, you rock!!!"
The Duchess of Ophir Creek
The Duchess of Ophir Creek
"Set in old America, white gold miner rescues a Chinese girl from sex slavery. I would "B. Glad" too :)"
Tiger Eye (Dirk & Steele, Book 1)
Tiger Eye (Dirk & Steele, Book 1)
"White woman unleashes a handsome Chinese genie from his lamp and, well, you can guess the rest.  Don’t laugh, it really could happen."
She Walks the Line : Women in Blue (Harlequin Superromance No. 1254)
She Walks the Line : Women in Blue (Harlequin Superromance No. 1254)
"Chinese-American female police officer teams up with a white insurance investigator for a mystery and then falls in love. When the reviews say “Mei Lu is a no-nonsense cop” you know it’s gonna be good!"
Reckoning
Reckoning
"A brilliant Chinese chemist falls in love with a strapping Delta Force operative. Guess which one is the man…"
Not SARS Just SEX (White Monkey LLC Book 2)
Not SARS Just SEX (White Monkey LLC Book 2)
"Memoirs about a young white boy who arrives in Taiwan during SARS and proceeds to meet lots of Chinese girls at the bars. More like a blog than a book, but whatever."
Chinese Women in Love and Marriage: A Guide to Happiness in Cross-Cultural Relationships
Chinese Women in Love and Marriage: A Guide to Happiness in Cross-Cultural Relationships
"Couldn’t resist including this on the list for the cheese factor. Seems to be written primarily for men who like to order their wives through the mail."
How to Attract Asian Women
How to Attract Asian Women
"What can you say about how-to books that classify Asian women into a single, homogeneous race? The word ‘retarded’ comes to mind.  Who buys this stuff?"
Asian Magnet 101 - How to Attract Asian Women
Asian Magnet 101 - How to Attract Asian Women
"As I just said: what can you say about how-to books that classify Asian women into a single, homogeneous race? The word ‘retarded’ still comes to mind.  Seriously, no seriously, who buys this stuff?"
The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient
The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient
"Not specifically about China. Also guilty of classifying Asian women into a single race-gender.  Apparently Chinese culture was too complex for the author to properly examine, so she focuses mostly on Japan and the Philippines."
Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction
Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction
"Analyzes white Hollywood’s inability to fairly or adequately cast Asian women in roles. Not really much about Chinese culture in it, but you get the point."
Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China
Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China
"An unprecedented anthology of original, true stories commissioned from 28 renowned Western writers about their experiences living, learning AND LOVING in China, including Jocelyn Eikenburg's account of forbidden love with a Chinese man, and my own ribald tale about a boys night out to a brothel."
China: Portrait of a People
China: Portrait of a People
"My new, 600-page book of photography spans all 33 provinces in China.  And as you can see from the lovely cover girl, I did my best to pay tribute to Chinese women across the country, from Beijing to Shanghai to Hong Kong to Tibet."