Biography Vol. 42 No. 2 (2019)

Figure 8 from Philip Miletic’s essay “Playing a Life in Nina Freeman’s Automedia Game, Cibele.” Valtameri. The meter with the handshake in the upper right corner progresses as Nina (left) and Ichi (right) fight together.

Editor’s Note

ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:

Wounded Cities: Topographies of Self and Nation in Fay Afaf Kanafani’s Nadia, Captive of Hope
Hager Ben Driss

Playing a Life in Nina Freeman’s Automedia Game, Cibele
Philip Miletic

Reading, Writing, and Resistance in Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Sarita Cannon

“Bad” Biography Exposed!: A Critical Analysis of American Super-Pop
Oline Eaton

BOOK REVIEWS:

The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer’s Tale, by James Atlas
Reviewed by Carl Rollyson

Experiments in Life-Writing: Intersections of Auto/Biography and Fiction, edited by Lucia Boldrini and Julia Novak
Reviewed by Alexandra Effe

American Autobiography after 9/11, by Megan Brown
Reviewed by Elisabeth Hedrick-Moser

Letter to My Father: A Memoir, by G. Thomas Couser
Reviewed by Emily Hipchen

The Selfie Generation: How Our Self Images Are Changing Our Notions of Privacy, Sex, Consent, and Culture, by Alicia Eler
Reviewed by Teresa Bruś

Invented Lives, Imagined Communities: The Biopic and American National Identity, edited by William H. Epstein and R. Barton Palmer
Reviewed by Eric M. Thau

An Artisan Intellectual: James Carter and the Rise of Modern Britain, 1792–1853, by Christopher Ferguson
Reviewed by Anna Clark

Autobiographical Writing in Latin America: Folds of the Self, by Sergio R. Franco
Reviewed by Francisco Brignole

Getting Personal: Teaching Personal Writing in the Digital Age, edited by Laura Gray-Rosendale
Reviewed by Madeleine Sorapure

The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV, by Christopher Grobe
Reviewed by Lynda Goldstein

A History of Irish Autobiography, edited by Liam Harte
Reviewed by Taura Napier

Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum, by Kathryn Hughes
Reviewed by Alison Booth

Doña Teresa Confronts the Spanish Inquisition: A Seventeenth-Century New Mexican Drama, by Frances Levine
Reviewed by Jorge Ca.izares-Esguerra

Clio’s Lives: Biographies and Autobiographies of Historians, edited by Doug Munro and John G. Reid
Reviewed by Jaume Aurell

The Decolonial Mandela: Peace, Justice and the Politics of Life, edited by Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni
Reviewed by Nick Mdika Tembo

Creating Identity in the Victorian Fictional Autobiography, by Heidi L. Pennington
Reviewed by Anne Reus

A History of Irish Working-Class Writing, edited by Michael Pierse
Reviewed by Muireann Leech

Canadian Graphic: Picturing Lives, edited by Candida Rifkind and Linda Warley
Reviewed by Roc.o G. Davis

Life? or Theatre? ( Leben? oder Theater?), by Charlotte Salomon
Reviewed by Julia Watson

The Phenomenology of Autobiography: Making it Real, by Arnaud Schmitt
Reviewed by Bettina Stumm

On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and Other Displacements: Selected Writings, by Ella Shohat
Reviewed by Joyce Zonana

Bird-Bent Grass: A Memoir, in Pieces, by Kathleen Venema
Reviewed by G. Thomas Couser

Private Lives Made Public: The Invention of Biography in Early Modern England, by Andrea Walkden
Reviewed by Julie A. Eckerle


About the Journal

For over forty years, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly has explored the theoretical, generic, historical, and cultural dimensions of life writing.

Subscriptions

Single issue sales and annual subscriptions for both individuals and institutions available here.

Submissions

Unsolicited manuscripts between 2,500 to 7,500 words are welcome. Email inquiries and editorial correspondence to biograph@hawaii.edu.

China Review International Vol. 24 no. 3 (2017)

Volume 24 Number 3 of China Review International begins with one feature review and 20 more reviews of scholarly literature in Chinese Studies.

FEATURE REVIEW

The Persistence and Significance of Small Urban Spaces in China (reviewing Di Wang, The Teahouse under Socialism: The Decline and Renewal of Public Life in Chengdu, 1950–2000)
Reviewed by Tim Simpson

REVIEWS

Jennifer Altehenger, Legal Lessons: Popularizing Laws in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1989
Reviewed by Ji Li

Emily Baum, The Invention of Madness: State, Society, and the Insane in Modern China
Reviewed by Hsuan-Ying Huang

Yanjie Bian, Guanxi: How China Works
Reviewed by Jack Barbalet

Steve Chan, Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations: Challenge and Opportunity 
Reviewed by Richard Hu

Patricia P. Chu, Where I have Never Been: Migration, Melancholia, and Memory in Asian American Narratives of Return 
Reviewed by Shawn Higgins

Melissa Dale, Inside the World of the Eunuch: A Social History of the Emperor’s Servants in Qing China
Reviewed by Ellen Soullière

Joshua Eisenman, Red China’s Green Revolution: Technological Innovation, Institutional Change, and Economic Development under the Commune
Reviewed by Zhun Xu

Luke Habberstad, Forming the Early Chinese Court: Rituals, Spaces, Roles 
Reviewed by Christopher F. Kim

Kurtis Hagen and Steve Coutinho, translated with commentary, Philosophers of the Warring States: A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy 
Reviewed by Robin R. Wang

Derek Hird and Geng Song, editors, The Cosmopolitan Dream: Transnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age
Reviewed by Yinni Peng

Ming-sho Ho, Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement 
Reviewed by Kevin Wei Luo

Hsiao-ting Lin, Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan 
Reviewed by Syaru Shirley Lin

Thomas Maissen and Barbara Mittler, Why China Did Not Have a Renaissance – And Why That Matters: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue 
Reviewed by Luke Clossey

Yuan-ning Wen and others, edited by Christopher Rea, Imperfect Understanding: Intimate Portraits of Modern Chinese Celebrities 
Reviewed by David N. C. Hull

William T. Rowe, Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China 
Reviewed by Margherita Zanasi

Michael Szonyi, The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China 
Reviewed by Masato Hasegawa

Jinping Wang, In the Wake of the Mongols: The Making of a New Social Order in North China, 1200–1600  Reviewed by Carl Déry

Bing Wang, Classical Chinese Poetry in Singapore: Witnesses to Social and Cultural Transformations in the Chinese Community 
Reviewed by Jing-yi Qu

Pu Wang, The Translatability of Revolution: Guo Moruo and Twentieth-Century Chinese Culture 
Reviewed by Haosheng Yang

Yun Via, Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China 
Reviewed by Patrick Fuliang Shan

Works Received


Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture, Volume 12 (2019)

From Young-Jun Lee’s Editor’s Note

Last year, peace in Korea seemed imminent, thanks to cooperation between Trump and Kim, but now, with the subsequent failure of talks, that expectation has diminished. Still, perhaps because of that failure, it is very noisy in front of Seoul Station or at Gwanghwamun Square these days, where people gather every weekend to make their opinions known. This clamor can be seen as expressing Korea’s disorder, or it can be seen as evidence of Korea’s eagerness for change. Social energy in Korea is still very high. The same goes for Korean literature.

Writer in Focus: Kim Kyung-uk

Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton
Introduction

Kim Kyung-uk
The Mailman, Olivia Hussey, and Robert Redford
Heaven’s Door
Mirror and Window
Excerpt from Man in the Mirror

Fiction

Kong Sŏn-ok
Single Mother

Choi Jinyoung
Nearly

Jeong Yi Hyun
Forever Summer

Yun Ko-Eun
The Chef’s Nail

Choi Eunyoung
Sister, My Little Soonae

Also in this issue:
Special Feature: Hansi by Ch’usa Kim Chŏng-hŭi,
Special Feature: Zainichi Literature and Film
Images by Too Bohnchang, an image index, and a Notes on Contributors section.

 

 


About the Journal

Azalea promotes Korean literature among English-language readers. Azalea introduces to the world new writers as well as promising translators, providing the academic community of Korean studies with well-translated texts for college courses. Writers from around the world also share their experience of Korean literature or culture with wider audiences.

From the Backstage of Publishing: Memories of Milton Murayama

headshot of Milton MurayamaOriginally this post was a way to mark this month’s Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by sharing personal memories from an editorial perspective of a pioneering Asian American literary icon, Milton Murayama. It has grown to include other remembrances from a marketing perspective. We are all proud to be the publisher of his bestselling novels.

Masako Ikeda, Acquisitons:

I only met Milton Murayama once, at the Asian American studies conference held in Honolulu in 1991. I tagged along with Sharon Yamamoto, who acquired his manuscripts for Five Years on a Rock and then Plantation Boy. Nothing at that meeting was particularly memorable as I sort of stood in the background, but I ended up enjoying serving as his managing editor for those two books. We wrote letters back and forth and continued to do so even as the century changed. Most of the time all he said in his letters was that he wanted to buy copies of his books or he was writing a new book, which wouldn’t be finished for a while.

After Five Years our production department held onto an old computer drive knowing that Milton had not updated his system and refused to do so. Our marketing staff coaxed him a number of times: “Milton, I’ll help you set it all up.” He kept sending me hard copy manuscripts with perforations on both ends along with five-inch floppy disks. The manuscript wasn’t complete so he wanted everything back, including the floppy disks, which he couldn’t find anymore. Right before he sent the 4 books by Murayama, standing upright on deskvery final manuscript, which eventually became Dying in a Strange Land, we had gotten rid of the drive, and there was no way to read his WordPerfect files. I ended up asking our Production staffer to keystroke everything, which she did in three days.

Communication with Milton was always interesting and often a little strange. He’d call to complain about the copy editor who didn’t understand that “Pidgin English doesn’t have ellipses points, or letter spaces in between.” He would also hesitate to say “Okay bye” and hang up the phone, so our conversation would go on for a long time with several seconds of dead silence breaking our talks in the most uncomfortable way.

Milton passed away in July 2016, and I didn’t know it until a month later when we saw the obituary in the Sunday paper. I felt guilty for not staying in touch. I do think of him quite often just as I think about Sharon, his true editor, whose passing was almost fourteen years earlier.

Steven Hirashima, Marketing:

My fondest memories of Milton would be visiting his fudge brown three-story home in the hillside area of Glen Park of San Francisco. Whenever I was in town I would always make a point to book a visit. The ritual was always the same. I would call to say I’m leaving the hotel and heading for the Union Square BART Station. Once at Glen Park, I would call to say I arrived and no more than five minutes later Milton would arrive in his old Toyota and we would head up the steep and winding road to his “retreat in the hills.”

5 people, including Murayama and wife Dawn, wearing lei.
L to R: Steven Hirashima, Marie Hara, Milton Murayama, Dawn Murayama, Carol Abe after the “Revisiting Murayama” presentation, November 2008.

Overlooking the flatlands of the city with Candlestick Park and SFO to the west, I would always be given a tour as to what was updated or repurposed around the house since my last visit (the actor Lou Diamond Phillips’s childhood family had been a previous neighbor), from a newly reapportioned sunroom downstairs to a section outside with a bed of spring flowers to Milton’s designated writing room where tucked in a corner would be his antique word processor (a Commodore 64), which I almost convinced him to ditch in favor of a newfangled Mac but he never wavered and remained forever faithful to his trusty machine.

Any trip to the Murayamas would invariably end in the kitchen where Milton and Dawn were the most gracious of hosts. We would often gather around the large formal dinner table for spirited conversation from his next book project or his time in the 442nd, feasting on a bowl of delicious Alaskan King crab legs and steamed garlic brussels sprouts, masterfully prepared by Milton only minutes before. Looking back, they were wonderful and precious times. How I long for another afternoon with Milton. Until then, God Speed and Aloha.

Carol Abe, Marketing:

My very first encounter with Milton was in 1975, the year his original edition of All I Asking for Is My Body published, the green one with the bamboo forest on the cover and an overly large “$3” printed on the back All 5 of Murayama's books, surrounded by clippings and letterscover. He and wife Dawn lined up signings at Honolulu Book Shops, at which I was a bookstore clerk (we weren’t called “booksellers” until twenty years later). Of course I bought a copy with my generous employee discount and had it signed, but didn’t otherwise have a personal connection to him. Jump to 2008: I’d been at UH Press for ten years and we released Milton’s fourth and final novel in his tetralogy about the Oyama family. Steve Hirashima had switched to managing our Asian studies list and I did the same for our Hawai‘i, Pacific, and Asian American titles.

Dying in a Strange Land had a pub date of June but Milton called and said he would wait to visit in the fall, when it’d be cooler, and he only wanted to do low-key promotion of a few bookstore signings. Then, as now, the Press had no travel funds to support a book tour anyway. He finally decided November would be a good time to come and would do Maui and O‘ahu signings, but no readings or talks. So I booked a combination of Barnes & Noble and Borders stores that followed his wishes and filled his itinerary. We corresponded by snail mail and exchanged letters. In one of these, Milton revealed some of the real-life equivalents to the characters in his books. He wrote, “There’s more fact than fiction in my stories.”

After a fan of his scolded me for not paying for his travel and doing him justice, a series of serendipitous things happened that culminated in an event more befitting of a literary icon, “Revisiting Murayama: From Plantation to Diaspora.” Gary Pak, as it happened, had videotaped an interview with Milton that he still needed to screen; the amazing Marie Hara agreed to be co-organizer and was a conduit to both UHM English department and Bamboo Ridge; Craig Howes put me in touch with Phyllis 3 books opened to page showing author signed the bookLook, who had directed a play of All I Asking. The program developed further by recruiting Arnold Hiura, Lee Cataluna, and one of our student employees, Tricia Tolentino, all tied together with Steve as emcee. (And, by rolling the dice, we obtained funding from SEED and Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, including an honorarium for Milton.)

During their visit, I had chauffeured Milton and Dawn to four or five appearances, perhaps being a bit manic in my driving. At the end, I asked Milton to sign my copy of Dying in a Strange Land. We all laughed warmly as I read his inscription: “It’s been fun getting to know you. I love smart flaky women, who’re also good drivers.” It was my honor and pleasure to have been a tiny part of his life.

+++

Each of Milton’s novels can be read separately and not in sequence. Dying in a Strange Land is on sale now, at a very special price—click here to order.

March–April 2017 UHP Author Events

When it comes to listing events, we can’t miss first mentioning our exhibit booth at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference taking place March 16–19 in Toronto. Acquisitions editors Pamela Kelley and Stephanie Chun, and marketing managers Royden Muranaka and Steven Hirashima make up our staffing contingent at this important meeting, which is attended by numerous UHP authors (and prospective authors) of Asian studies titles.

* * * * * * * * *

Below is the current lineup of author appearances scheduled for the coming weeks—including a couple already past—mostly for our Hawai‘i-related titles. Unless otherwise noted, these events are free and the public is invited to attend; books will be available for sale and signing.

Wednesday, March 15, 3:30 to 5:30 pm, at the Faculty Center, Chaminade University, 201 Eiben Hall
Chapter contributors Jonathan Dial, Bianca Isaki, and Brian Richardson will speak on the issues addressed in Tourism Impacts West Maui, the latest book from North Beach-West Maui Benefit Fund Inc., distributed by UH Press.

Wednesday, March 15, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, at Waianae Public Library (85-625 Farrington Hwy)
Former investigative reporter Jim Dooley will give an illustrated talk about the lively behind-the-headlines stories in his book, Sunny Skies, Shady Characters. See more details on the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System site.

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Volcano Art Center, Volcano Village,  Island of Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i’s Kōlea coauthors Oscar “Wally” Johnson and Susan Scott will give a slideshow presentation on the amazing migratory bird at the Volcano Art Center Niaulani campus. While the event is free, a $5 donation would be appreciated. See more details on the VAC website. Wally leaves the next day to return to Montana, while Susan will stay on to do a signing on Saturday at Basically Books, before heading home to O‘ahu.

Saturday, March 18, 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Basically Books, Hilo
Susan Scott will sign copies of Hawai‘i’s Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover, as well as her sailing memoir, Call Me Captain. For future events with Susan, check out her website.

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:00 pm, Ciné in Athens, Georgia (234 W Hancock Avenue)
UH Mānoa creative writing professor Rodney Morales heads to the Deep South to do a reading of his latest novel, For A Song. His visit is hosted by the University of Georgia Creative Writing Program and books will be sold by Avid Bookshop.

Saturday, March 25, three separate events in Kamuela and Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i
Dr. Billy Bergin and his son Dr. Brady Bergin, both respected equine veterinarians, will do a marathon book launch and signings for their new book, The Hawaiian Horse. The schedule and locations include:

• 9:00 am to 12 noon, Parker Ranch Store, 67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kamuela (phone 808-885-5669).
• 1:00 to 2:45 pm, Basically Books, 160 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo (phone 808-961-0144). Includes a short talk.
• 3:00 to 4:30 pm, Lyman Museum, 276 Haili Street, Hilo (phone 808-935-5021). The authors will do a talk as part of the museum’s Patricia E. Saigo series of public programs. The cost is free for museum members and $3.00 for nonmembers. Read more on the event here.
Wednesday, March 29, 10 to noon, at the Waimea Midweek Farmers Market , Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables, Parker Ranch, 67-139 Pukalani Road, Kamuela (phone 808-854-1541).
Drs. Bergin will be available to sign books at this outdoor market hosted by the Paniolo Preservation Society.

Saturday, April 1, starting at 2:00 pm, Hawaii Japanese Center, Hilo (751 Kanoelehua Avenue)
Hawaii Japanese Center,
in partnership with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, presents a program based around author Barbara Kawakami and her recent book, Picture Bride Stories, which was recently announced as the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians (APALA) Literature Award for adult nonfiction (the award will be presented in June) . The HJC program will include a dance performance of holehole bushi and a screening of excerpts from the Rice & Roses television series that previously aired on PBS Hawai‘i. See complete details on the HJC flyer.

Ms. Kawakami has scheduled additional presentations on Picture Bride Stories, including one on Thursday, April 13, 12:00 to 1:45 pm, at Kaua‘i Community College’s International Education Center (Office of Continuing Education and Training Bldg., Room 106 C/D). On Saturday, April 29, she will be at Temari‘s annual “BOLTS of Fabric & Fun” sale to participate in the 11:00 am Textile Talk Stories with Ann Asakura, and will sign books before and after her presentation. The BOLTS event is being held at Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (which has its own Things Japanese annual sale the same day).

Thursday, April 13, 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Kuykendall Hall 410, UH Mānoa
At this Brown Bag series sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research, David Hanlon‘s talk, “‘You Did What, Mr. President?!?!’ Writing a Biography of the Federated States of Micronesia’s Tosiwa Nakayama” explores his work behind Making Micronesia.

Saturday, April 22, 12 noon to 4:oo pm, Santa Rosa City Hall (100 Santa Rosa Avenue)
Copperfield’s Books will have a booth with a mini stage for its “Women Writers Talk Environment” event at the Earth Day festival in Santa Rosa. The Charm Buyers author Lillian Howan will join Rebecca Lawton, Farnaz Fatemi, and others to read, discuss, and sign books. For insight into Lillian’s writing, read the Writer in Residence interview with her on Rebecca Lawton’s blog.
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As always, to keep up with UHP author talks and other event news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 2017 UH Press Author Events

Several author appearances are scheduled for the coming months; here are the remaining ones lined up for February. These events are free and the public is invited to attend. Books will be available for sale and signing, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, February 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Eastwind Books of Berkeley (2066 University Avenue)
howan-charmbuyers72dpiAt this venerable independent bookshop, Lillian Howan will discuss and read from her debut novel, The Charm Buyers. Set in 1990s Tahiti during the last years of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, the book has been praised by early reviewers as “gorgeous,” “sensuous,” and “hynoptic” (see the blurbs under the “reviews” tab on the UH Press web page). A review scheduled to appear in the March/April issue of Foreword Reviews says, in part: “Howan’s language is breathtaking, building a land and family with detail and power. . . . The Charm Buyers is a thought-provoking insight into a time of cultural change. It captures an essence of existing between reality and surreality, dreaming and wakefulness, the past and the future.”

For event information, go to the Eastwind Books website or Facebook page.
Howan also did a reading on February 15 at the University of San Francisco. See the flyer here.

Saturday, February 18, 11:00 am, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i
furuya-internment_100dpiFifty years ago, Suikei Furuya chronicled his World War II imprisonment and published his memoirs in Japan. It took JCCH Resource Center volunteer Tatsumi Hayashi ten years to translate the book into English and now An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten has been published by JCCH, with additional distribution by UH Press. The book launch will include a panel discussion with Tatsumi Hayashi, Sheila Chun, Brian Niiya and a member of the Furuya family. For further details, see the JCCH website.

Thursday, February 23, 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Kuykendall Hall 410, UH Mānoa

tsai-peoplesrace_100dpiAt this Brown Bag talk sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research, Michael Tsai, author of The People’s Race Inc.: Behind the Scenes at the Honolulu Marathon, discusses his melding of journalistic and life-writing approaches as well as the expected and unexpected challenges of dealing with living subjects. Tsai is a Kapi‘olani Community College instructor and Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist and reporter.

For the Spring 2017 Brown Bag schedule of speakers, click here.

Saturday, February 25, 2:15 to 3:30 pm, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

baird-dolphinswhales_100dpiAt Whales Tales 2017, presented by Whale Trust Maui, marine biologist Robin Baird speaks about his ocean fieldwork with Cascadia Research Collective and the results covered in his book, The Lives of Hawai‘i’s Dolphins and Whales: Natural History and Conservation. These include findings from years of research using satellite tagging, genetics, and photo identification to study resident whales and dolphins in Hawai‘i. Dr. Baird’s February 14 illustrated talk at the Waikiki Aquarium elicited numerous questions from the audience, leading to answers with more fascinating facts on these ocean mammals.


To keep up with UHP author talks and other event news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

UH Press and MĀNOA at AWP 2017, February 8 to 11

MANOA editor Frank Stewart

MANOA editor and UH Manoa faculty member Frank Stewart.

At the 50th annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference & Book Fair, held this week in Washington, DC, stop by booth 791 and say aloha to the editors of MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing as you browse University of Hawai‘i Press publications. Among the UH Press books and journals on display will be MĀNOA‘s latest issues: Curve of the Hook,  The Color of Dawn, and Story Is a Vagabond; information on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa English Department creative writing program will be distributed as well.

howan-charmbuyers72dpiOther featured titles include:

The Charm Buyers by Lillian Howan

For a Song by Rodney Morales

The Healers by Kimo Armitage

Five Faces of Japanese Feminism: Crimson and Other Works by Ineko Sata, translated by Samuel Perry

Murder Frames the Scene by Victoria Kneubuhl

morales-forasong_100dpiThe Blind Writer: Stories and a Novella by Sameer Pandya

The Confessions of a Number One Son: The Great Chinese American Novel by Frank Chin, edited by Calvin McMillin


 

The book fair opens on the morning of Thursday, February 9 and closes the afternoon of Saturday, February 11.

9780824856458Click here to see more about AWP, now the largest literary conference in North America.

In the Footsteps of Frank Chin on Maui

McMillin_CONOS&magMany of the characters and locations featured in Frank Chin‘s The Confessions of a Number One Son are based on the author’s experiences living on Maui over four decades ago. In 1969, Chin taught at San Francisco State, but decided to take a break from teaching and move to the island, where he worked as a carpenter with some old friends from Berkeley. Over time, Chin grew anxious to return to the mainland, but found that he couldn’t afford a plane ticket home.

As fate would have it, he learned of a playwriting contest sponsored by the East West Players, a showcase theater for Asian American actors in Los Angeles. The top prize was a thousand dollars. Over the course of several weeks, Chin wrote and submitted a play, and eventually found himself sharing the award with Momoko Iko—thereby earning half of the prize money, which was more than enough to buy a plane ticket back to California. That prize-winning play was The Chickencoop Chinaman and the rest, as they say, is history.

McMillin_IaoNeedleThis August, forty-five years after Chin left Maui, editor Calvin McMillin decided to travel to the island to investigate the writer’s old haunts, especially those featured in the novel. He visited Wailuku, located at the mouth of ‘Iao Valley and near the landmarks of ‘Iao Needle and ‘Iao Stream (historically known as Wailuku stream). As Calvin reported after his trip, seeing the lush and beautiful natural environment in person added a new understanding of the novel’s Hawaiian backdrop.

McMillin_IaoTheaterAfter visiting the historic Iao Theater, Calvin followed in Frank Chin’s footsteps (and more recently, those of Anthony Bourdain) by eating at Tasty Crust, an old-fashioned local diner in Wailuku, and concluded that the startling similarities between Tasty Crust’s breakfast menu and the main character’s diet in The Confessions of a Number One Son was unlikely to be just a coincidence.

“I ate in restaurants. Spam and eggs, canned Vienna sausage and eggs, canned corned beef hash and Portuguese linguica and eggs, and canned ham and eggs out of a typical greasy spoon for breakfast. The mass eats of the white missionary culture and U.S. military now a part of island culture. The wonders of canned processed meat—a part of life every morning—sealed up hunger with grease.” (page 43)McMillin_TastyCrustdiner

Calvin also visited many of the beach locations featured in the novel and drove to Lahaina’s Wo Hing Museum, which offers information about Chinese immigration to Maui in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

To see more of Calvin McMillin’s trip to Maui, visit the official Facebook page for The Confessions of a Number One Son. You can also follow him on Twitter @roninonempty.

The Confessions of a Number One Son

Chin-CONFESSIONS_notfinal_NEW RELEASE


The Confessions of a Number One Son
written by Frank Chin
edited with an introduction by Calvin McMillin

2015 | 280 pages
Paper | ISBN 978-0-8248-3892-8 | $24.00
Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8248-3926-0 | $45.00

“Chin takes the reader on a twisted trip, packed both with raunchy comedy and poignant tenderness. . . . McMillin did an excellent job of keeping Chin’s writing intact while cutting out repetitions or segments that went nowhere [and] should also be applauded for compiling one of the best biographical sketches of Chin, to date. The publication of “Confessions” affirms Chin’s rightful place as a literary giant, not only within the confines of Asian American literature, but in the global literary world.” Nichi Bei Weekly

“Suspense builds as the novel becomes a darkly comic struggle with illusions, expectations and secret desires. . . . [Chin] writes fluidly, creates strong characters, and has a playwright’s ear for dialogue.” —Honolulu Star-Advertiser

“A spontaneous mix of reality and fantasy in this book contrasts with the underlying message about the damage people of color have endured because of racial prejudice. . . . Chin’s unique characters, with names like Gravelly Lake Ponders and Lily, the forty-three-year-old ex-nun, interact with convincing craziness.” —Foreword Reviews

“This heretofore unknown work captures the birth of a consciousness that is neither Asian or white American, but a third thing we witness being forged in the mind of its author. Its publication now should spur renewed interest and a critical reevaluation of the entirety of Frank Chin’s work, and cement his literary legacy.” —The International Examiner

UHP in Berkeley, CA | Bay Area Book Festival

BABFlogowithChronLogoBay Area Book Festival

Indoor/Outdoor Free Festival

June 6-7 | Downtown Berkeley’s Art District, CA
Find more information here.
———–
Drop by our booth for a great discount on some of our most popular titles!


The Blind WriterCall me Captain Marathon Japan Changing Chinese Cities
216 pages
Paper | 978-0-8248-4798-2 | $25.00
Cloth | 978-0-8248-3958-1 | $50.00
Sameer Pandya will be a presenter at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference on Monday, June 8. For more info, click here.


Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea
Susan Scott

336 pages
Paper | 978-0-8248-3981-9 | $19.99


Marathon Japan: Distance Racing and Civic Culture
Thomas R. H. Havens

240 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-4101-0 | $47.00


Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism
Renee Y. Chow

224 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-5383-9 | $45.00

Recasting Red Culture in Proletarian Japan: Childhood, Korea, and the Historical Avant-Garde

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Recasting Red Culture turns a critical eye on the influential proletarian cultural movement that flourished in 1920s and 1930s Japan. This was a diverse, cosmopolitan, and highly contested moment in Japanese history when notions of political egalitarianism were being translated into cultural practices specific to the Japanese experience. Both a political and historiographical intervention, the book offers a fascinating account of the passions—and antinomies—that animated one of the most admirable intellectual and cultural movements of Japan’s twentieth century, and argues that proletarian literature, cultural workers, and institutions fundamentally enrich our understanding of Japanese culture.

Weaving over a dozen translated fairytales, poems, and short stories into his narrative, Samuel Perry offers a fundamentally new approach to studying revolutionary culture. By examining the margins of the proletarian cultural movement, Perry effectively redefines its center as he closely reads and historicizes proletarian children’s culture, avant-garde “wall fiction,” and a literature that bears witness to Japan’s fraught relationship with its Korean colony. Along the way, he shows how proletarian culture opened up new critical spaces in the intersections of class, popular culture, childhood, gender, and ethnicity.

2014 | 248 pages | 12 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3893-5 | $49.00s | Cloth

Scrutinized!: Surveillance in Asian North American Literature

ChiuCOVER3.inddChang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker, Kerri Sakamoto’s The Electrical Field, Don Lee’s Country of Origin, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Susan Choi’s A Person of Interest. These and a host of other Asian North American detection and mystery titles were published between 1995 and 2010. Together they reference more than a decade of Asian North America monitoring that includes internment, campaign financing, espionage, and post-9/11 surveillance. Monica Chiu reveals how Asian North American novels’ fascination with mystery, detection, spying, and surveillance is a literary response to anxieties over race.

Scrutinized! is broadly about oversight and insight. The race policing of the past has been subsumed under post-racism—an oversight based on a persistent visual construction of race. Readers revisit Oriental visions, or Asian stereotypes, and then encounter official documentation on major events, such as the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian internment. The former visions, which endure, and the latter documents, diplomatically forgotten, shape how Asian subjects were and are scrutinized and to what effect. They determine which surveillance images remain emblazoned in a nation’s collective memory and which face political burial.

2014 | 208 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3842-3 | $45.00s | Cloth
Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies