A chorus of immigrant voices populates Judy Fong Bates’s graceful and poignant first collection. Denizens of the ubiquitous small towns around Ontario, as far from their native land as can be imagined yet united by their proximity to the local Chinese laundry, her characters have in common their driving desire to assimilate, to fit in, to belong to a “majority” culture. But they are also people trapped by a certain cultural pride in confronting a world that may feign acceptance while at the same time reminding them that they are “other.” In the words of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Judy Fong Bates’s “deceptively simple narratives expose the hopes and hardships that define her characters’ lives.” Her graceful writing is full of compassion, insight, and honesty; it opens our eyes to the commonality of what it is to be human.
And Other Tales from a Chinese Laundry
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