Booklists and Weblists Tabs

LEARNING A NEW LIFE - Novels and Short Stories about Immigrants in the United States

Blauner, Peter. MAN OF THE HOUR. 1999
An explosive and telling novel about a radical anti-American terrorist faction, an outraged nation, and the unfortunate man who gets caught in the middle. An English teacher risks his life to save a student from a bomb blast , and Americans everywhere applaud his courage. Then suspicions begin to arise he is the one to blame. His 15 minutes of fame turn into a potential lifetime of hell. FICTION/BLAUNER/PET

Cao, Lan. MONKEY BRIDGE. 1997
Young Mai Nguyen and her mother flee Vietnam on one of the last helicopters to leave Saigon before the Communist takeover. Her father, a progressive intellectual, died before they were able to escape. As they struggle to make a new life in the "Little Saigon" district of Falls Church, Virginia they must deal with the secrets of their past. FICTION/CAO/LAN

Carey, Lisa. THE MERMAIDS SINGING. 1998
The lives of three Irish-American heroines are skillfully woven together with rich Celtic imagery in a story that vividly depicts truths universal to all families. FICTION/CAREY/LISA

Carlson, Lori. AMERICAN EYES: New Asian-American short stories for young adults. 1994
The nature of home as experienced by young Americans from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, or Vietnamese families is the focus of these stories of individuals in all their rage and yearning. Readers of all backgrounds will relate to these stories. YOUNG ADULT/FICTION/AMERICAN

Frosch, Mary. COMING OF AGE IN AMERICA. 1994
Coming of Age in America crosses the universal territory we all experience as we grow up, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or class, and reminds us that, ultimately, our common experiences are more binding than our differences are divisive. Fifteen authors from different cultural backgrounds share their stories. SHORT STORIES/COMING

Guterson, David. SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS. 1994
A soulful tale of love, murder and racism set on an island in Puget Sound, Washington in the 1950s. The emotional and physical scars of the Japanese fishermen, farmers and their families are revealed as the story relates their experiences in the internment camps of World War II, their loss of homes and property and the racism they were forced to endure. FICTION/GUTERSON

Jen, Gish. WHO'S IRISH? 1999
Insanely great!! An excellent collection of short stories covering the Chinese immigrant experience, multi-cultural relations and multi-generational relationships. Jen's writing is outstanding, she is not afraid to tackle the most sensitive topics. These eight stories are sharply written, filled with humor, pathos, and more than a few surprising twists and turns. SHORT STORIES/JEN

Keller, Nora Okja. COMFORT WOMAN. 1997
Beccah, a Korean-American teen, would very much like to fit in with the popular kids at her high school. She is embarrassed by her mother's unusual behavior and communion with the spirit world. As the story unfolds, Beccah learns of her Korean mother's earlier life: her imprisonment during World War II as a "comfort woman" and the torture and abuse she was forced to endure. As Beccah comes to understand the reasons behind her mother's behavior the two are drawn more closely together. FICTION/KELLER/NOR

Lee, Don. YELLOW: Stories 2001
The lives and loves of young Asian Americans are shared here. The author uses humor and sensitivity to examine the complicated relationships between couples and co-workers as they cope with living in this society. Characters are dealt with in a sympathetic manner, and inter-racial dating and rivalry between Asians of various descents are covered in this interesting collection. FICTION/LEE/DON

Louie, David Wong. THE BARBARIANS ARE COMING: A Novel . 2000
Sterling Lung, a young Chinese-American, struggles to achieve the American Dream. In his struggles he has rejected everything his Chinese immigrant parents have taught him about his ancestors and Chinese culture. His father wanted him to become a doctor but he chose to become a chef. In an effort to bring Sterling back to his cultural roots his parents send for a "picture bride" from China. FICTION/LOUIE/DAV

Na, An. A STEP FROM HEAVEN. 2000
Young Ju's story begins when she is four years old and her parents bring her to "Mi Gook", America. On the airplane she believes she is going to heaven to meet her grandfather, but when she arrives in America her uncle dispels this notion by telling her that the US is just "a step from heaven". Young Ju finds out how difficult that step is as she struggles to learn English and fit in with a new culture, but finally her successes outweigh the failures of her journey. YOUNG ADULT FICTION/NA

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Namioka, Lensey. APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY. 1994
April Chen, a Chinese-American teen, plans on going to college but her family has other ideas. Her grandmother, the "Dragon Lady", needs constant attention and her older brother is always too busy to help. Her family disapproves of her new Anglo boyfriend, Steve, and April is torn between her traditional Chinese family values and the desire for self-fulfillment instilled in her by American culture. YOUNG ADULT FICTION/NAM

Roley, Brian Ascalon. AMERICAN SON: A NOVEL. 2001
Two Filipino brothers struggle to work out their troubled relationship against the backdrop of Southern California culture. Each has his own way of attempting to adapt to this different life. As the boys drift farther apart in their views, gangs and violence play an increasingly important part in their lives. FICTION/ROLEY/BRI

Roth, Henry. MERCY OF A RUDE STREAM. 1994
Our hero, Ira Stigman, reflects on his life from his days on the mean streets of New York as a young Jewish boy through to his old age. He struggles to accept his own limitations as he copes with the problems of family life, school, war and dislocation. Very well written, this is part of a six-volume series. FICTION/ROTH/HENRY

Rozan, S.J. REFLECTING THE SKY. 2001
Private detectives Lydia Chin and Bill Smith are sent by Lydia's grandfather from New York to Hong Kong on what seems a simple assignment. They must deliver three valuable items: the ashes of an old friend for burial, a jade amulet to his grandson, and a note to his brother. But before they can deliver the amulet to the grandson he is kidnapped. MYSTERY/ROZAN

Shannon, John. THE ORANGE CURTAIN. 2001
Jack Liffey, a private investigator who specializes in kidnapping cases, is called upon to find a missing Vietnamese college coed. He travels to LA's Little Saigon to track her down. Liffey must contend with Vietnamese street gangs and the legacy of a war that won't go away as he searches for the missing girl. MYSTERY/SHANNON/JOHN

Snell, Gordon. THICKER THAN WATER: Coming-of-age. 2001
This amazing collection of short stories reflects the joys and sorrows of young adults. Written by authors of Irish descent, the stories share experiences that are universal to teens everywhere and range from romance to parent problems to struggles with siblings. Highly recommended. SHORT STORIES/THICKER

Stout, Mira. ONE THOUSAND CHESTNUT TREES: A Novel of Korea. 1998
A beautifully written story of a young Korean-American woman, Anna, and her quest to trace her family heritage. She knows little about her Boston-Irish father or her Korean mother. She travels to Korea to fit the pieces of her life together. FICTION/STOUT/MIR

Tan, Amy. THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES. 1995
Chinese-American Olivia meets her long lost sister, Kwan, who has come from China. Olivia is American and sensible while Kwan is Chinese and magical. The characters are brought to intense life and provide delightful images of cultures that differ and blend. FICTION/TAN/AMY

Tan, Amy. THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER. 2001
Papers written in Chinese calligraphy are key to the story of Ruth Young and her mother, Luling, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ruth believes the packets are an attempt by her mother to remember important aspects of her life. FICTION/TAN/AMY

Wong, Shawn. AMERICAN KNEES. 1995
Sometimes humorous, sometimes thought provoking, this weaves a tale of the romance between two Asian-Americans, Raymond and Aurora, one Chinese, the other Japanese. FICTION/WONG/SHA

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