The Big aiiieeeee! : an anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American literature

by Jeffery Paul Chan

Other authorsFrank Chin (Editor), Lawson Fusao Inada (Editor), Shawn Wong (Editor)
Paperback, 1991

Status

Available

Publication

New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Meridan, 1991 printing.

User reviews

LibraryThing member freddlerabbit
I initially read this anthology in college; I've picked it up several times since then for a revisit. Perhaps the first most important thing to know about it is the breadth of material. The Big Aiiieeeee contains translated poetry, sketchwork, fiction, autobiography/memoir and sociological materials, as well as commentary to help contextualize each piece. Some people may enjoy that diversity of sources - I do, very much, although I may not enjoy all pieces the same; but if you're looking for something like a short story collection, this is not your book.

The book takes on the challenge of beginning to present some of the history of Chinese and Japanese Americans and to articulate some of the contours of possible experiences for persons of those groups. Some of the material is now a bit out of date, but still presents a compelling snapshot of perspectives at the time the book was published. The diversity of sources, writers, and perspectives provides a rounded and complex picture - perhaps the best thing that readers can take away from it is that there is no one, single, definitive experience, and two persons with similarly non-white appearances and backgrounds can have markedly different feelings and experiences of being an American. There are many cautionary tales - experiences we should feel badly about - and can learn from, going forward.

This book is a great way to become acquainted with a diversity of source material, and good launching pad for further reading. It's probably not great for someone who wants a cohesive portrait or argument or an "easy read."
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Language

Barcode

4275
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