Words Matter is the first collection of interviews with 20th-century Asian American writers. The conversations that have been gathered here interviews with twenty writers possessing unique backgrounds, perspectives, thematic concerns, and artistic priorities effectively dispel any easy categorizations of people of Asian descent. These writers comment on their own work and speak frankly about aesthetics, politics, and the challenges they have encountered in pursuing a writing career. They address, among other issues, the expectations attached to the label Asian American, the burden of representation shouldered by ethnic artists, and the different demands of mainstream and ethnic audiences."
Maureen Sabine's ambitious study of The Woman Warrior and China Men aims to bring these divided texts back together with a close reading that looks for the textual traces of the father in The Woman Warrior and shows how the daughter narrator tracks down his history in China Men. She considers theories of intertextuality that open up the possibility of a dynamic interplay between the two books and suggests that the Hong family women and men may be struggling for dialogue with each other even when they appear textually silent or apart.
Each chapter in this study examines an individual novel. The novels are analyzed for plot structure, characterization, thematic elements, and their relationship to prior and later novels by Saul. In addition, Bail defines and applies a variety of theoretical approaches to the novels-feminist, deconstructionist, Freudian, Jungian, and sociopolitical-to widen the reader's perspective. Bail shows how John Saul enlarged his repertoire from stories of supernatural possession to science-fiction based horror. A complete bibliography of John Saul's fiction and a bibliography of reviews and criticism complete the work. Because of John Saul's great popularity among teenagers and adults, this unique study is a necessary purchase by secondary school and public libraries.
Readers are introduced to Maxine Hong Kingston with a fascinating biographical chapter. A literary heritage chapter examines not only how Kingston fits into the Asian American literary tradition, but also how her exuberant books helped shape and redefine this important area of literature. A full chapter is devoted to each work, covering all literary components; plot and narrative construction, character development, symbolism, historical context and themes. An alternate critical approach is also given for each work. An extensive bibliography covers works by and about Kingston.
Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a reliable account of the autobiographer's life; reviews major autobiographical works and themes, including fictionalized autobiographies and autobiographical novels; presents a meticulously researched account of the critical reception of these works; and closes with a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. An introductory essay considers the history and development of autobiography in American literature and culture and discusses issues and themes vital to Asian American autobiographies and memoirs, such as family, diaspora, nationhood, identity, cultural assimilation, racial dynamics, and the formation of the Asian American literary canon. The volume closes with a selected bibliography.