Here—for the first time in one volume—are two classic, brilliantly original works on the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. In both books the acclaimed author mines her family’s past and her culture’s stories, weaving myth and memory to fashion works of enormous revelatory power.
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, is Kingston’s disturbing and fiercely beautiful account of growing up Chinese-American in California. The young Kingston lives in two worlds: the America to which her parents have emigrated, a place inhabited by white “ghosts,” and the China of her mother’s “talk stories,” a place haunted by the ghosts of the past. Her mother, who had been a doctor in China but in the United States is reduced to running a laundry, tells her daughter traditional tales of strong, wily women warriorstales–that clash puzzlingly with the real oppression of Chinese women. Kingston learns to fill in the mystifying spaces in her mother’s stories with stories of her own, engaging her family’s past and her own present with anger, imagination, and dazzling passion.
China Men, a National Book Award winner for fiction, is Kingston’s unforgettable imaginative journey into the hearts and minds of generations of Chinese men in America, from those who worked on the transcontinental railroad in the 1840s to those who fought in Vietnam. Mixing vivid fables and legends, personal stories from her own family, and details of the historical hardships faced by Chinese immigrants in different times and places, Kingston illuminates their long, arduous search for the Gold Mountain.