Asian Canadian

#612 Chinese ghosts, Chinese identity

The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family by Lindsay Wong Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018 $19.95 / 9781551527369 Reviewed by Imogene Lim First published January 17, 2019 * Editor’s note: this review was first published in The Ormsby Review in January 2019. Somehow it disappeared when material…
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#601 Notice to all Japanese Persons

The Three Pleasures by Terry Watada Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2017 $24.99 / 9781772140958 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner * One of the touchstones of Canadian historical fiction is Obasan, Joy Kogawa’s gentle, autobiographical 1981 story of a Japanese-Canadian childhood disrupted by the racism of the Second World War years in British Columbia. With its cast of…
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#592 Ginger beef and fried macaroni

Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants by Ann Hui Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $24.95 / 9781771622226 Reviewed by Imogene Lim * In March 2019, B.C. Bestseller Chop Suey Nation, by Ann Hui, was awarded the 2019 Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize by the Chinese Canadian Historical…
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#553 From alienation to adulation

Flow: Poems Collected and New by Roy Miki, edited by Michael Barnholden Vancouver: Talonbooks 2018 $49.95 / 9781772012101 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * Condemned in utero as an Enemy Alien by the Dominion of Canada in 1942, the scholar and poet Roy Miki (born 1942) emerged as a pioneer of the Japanese-Canadian redress movement of the 1980s. Reviewer…
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#540 Wayson Choy (1939-2019)

First published April 29, 2019 Wayson Choy (1939-2019) An obituary by Alan Twigg * At age 80, Wayson Choy died at home on April 28, 2019. Wayson Choy was born on April 20, 1939 in Vancouver as the only son of two working parents. His mother was a meat-cutter and sausage stuffer; he was told…
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#529 Poems & portraits of Chinatown

Chinatown Ghosts: The Poems and Photographs of Jim Wong-Chu by Jim Wong-Chu Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018 $19.95 /  9781551527482 Reviewed by LiLynn Wan First published April 13, 2019 * When Chinatown Ghosts was first published in 1986, Jim Wong-Chu broke a silence in Canadian literature. This slim volume of poetry was one of the…
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#513 Victoria’s secret: diversity

City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past by May Q. Wong Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2018 $22.00 / 9781771512855 Reviewed by Tom Koppel * When I was a kid, my father took me on a brief visit to Victoria. Part of the attraction, for him, was that he’d heard the city described as the…
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#511 Gold, gamblers, and greenhorns

Gold Rush Manliness: Race and Gender on the Pacific Slope by Christopher Herbert Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018 $30.00 (U.S.) / 9780295744131 Reviewed by Robert Hogg * Christopher Herbert has added to the considerable literature on gender in colonial societies, and of frontier masculinities in particular, as well as to the historiography of race,…
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#501 My Private Chinatown

MEMOIR: My Private Chinatown by Grahame Ware * The literature of remembrance turns the lost world of objects into emblems of a bygone culture. What is lost can be repossessed through memory and writing, for it is in the vagaries of consciousness in retracing lost dreams that possession can best be established. Writing about memories…
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#496 Too much sail, not enough ballast

Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and Jurisdiction in the Time of Empire by Renisa Mawani Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2018 $27.95 (U.S.) / 9780822370352 Reviewed by Hugh Johnston * Renisa Mawani writes a thoroughly academic prose, not intended for a casual audience. Even so, her book will have fans, especially among…
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#458 From Powell Street to Tashme

Powell Street Diary: A Remembrance of Life before Internment by Jesse Nishihata, foreword by Junji Nishihata Montreal: Tombo Communications, 2017 $20.00 / 9781387054060 Reviewed by Patricia E. Roy First published Jan. 1, 2019 * In the foreword to this fascinating little book, Junji Nishihata explains that it began when his late father, the award-winning documentary film-maker…
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#456 Japanese interns and seafarers

Departures: Chronicling the Expulsion of the Japanese Canadians from the West Coast, 1942-1949 by Linda Kawamoto Reid, John Endo Greenaway, and Fumiko Greenaway Burnaby: Nikkei National Museum, 2017 $24.95  / 9780995032835 * Changing Tides: Vanishing Voices of Nikkei Fishermen and Their Families by Kotaro Hayashi, Fumio “Frank” Kanno, Henry Tanaka, and Jim Tanaka (editors) Burnaby:…
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#441 Small journeys, big change

The Small Way by Onjana Yawnghwe Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781987915778 Reviewed by Renée Saklikar First published December 6, 2018 * We were speaking then of necessary journeys, of the way the reading of a book might become a crossing-over into other people’s territory, for instance into those migrations that are within…
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#432 Rescuing a Chinese minority

Blossoms in the Gold Mountains: Chinese Settlements in the Fraser Canyon and the Okanagan by Lily Chow Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2018 $24.95 / 9781987915501 Reviewed by Henry Yu First published Nov. 26, 2018 * Lily Chow’s Blossoms in the Gold Mountains is the culmination of a series of popular, accessible, and groundbreaking histories of…
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#428 Gulf Islands charcoal burners

Island Forest Embers: The Japanese Canadian Charcoal Kilns of the Southern Gulf Islands by Rumiko Kanesaka and Brian Smallshaw (editors) Ganges: Japanese Garden Society of Salt Spring Island, 2018 $8.00 / 9780973781410 Reviewed by Bob Muckle First published Nov. 20, 2018 * While walking in the forest on his home island of Galiano one day…
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#392 From boss logger to zero

First published Oct. 4, 2018. The Tree Trunk Can Be My Pillow: The Biography of an Outstanding Japanese Canadian by Tadashi Jack Kagetsu Victoria: University of Victoria, 2017. $33.95  /  9781550586114 Reviewed by Bob Griffin * The government of Canada declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, a day after the Japanese attacks on…
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#390 From Xinhuixian to Quesnel

From Wah Lee to Chew Keen: The Story of a Pioneer Chinese Family in North Cariboo by Liping Wong Yip Victoria: FriesenPress Publishers, 2017 $17.49 / 9781460294307 Reviewed by Tzu-I Chung * In 1917, Wah Lee and his third wife, Mon Ho, boarded the Empress of Russia in Hong Kong, bound for British Columbia. They…
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#364 Chinese migration and mobility

First published Sept. 3, 2018. Trans-Pacific Mobilities: The Chinese and Canada by Lloyd L. Wong (editor) Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $34.95 / 9780774833806 Reviewed by Jennifer Lau * Jennifer Lau considers Lloyd Wong’s Trans-Pacific Mobilities: The Chinese and Canada, a collection of scholarly essays tracing the migration of people, ideas, and goods across the Pacific. Lau…
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#359 From Punjab to Williams Lake

An Uncommon Road: How Canadian Sikhs Struggled out of the Fringes and into the Mainstream by Gian Singh Sandhu Vancouver: Echo Storytelling, 2018. Available though Heritage Group Distribution $29.95 / 9781987900163 Reviewed by Gurpreet Singh First published August 29, 2018 * Gian Singh Sandhu came to Canada in 1970 and settled in Williams Lake, where…
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