Asian Canadian

#685 Tracking the Komagata Maru

Voices of Komagata Maru: Imperial Surveillance and Workers from Punjab in Bengal by Suchetana Chattopadhyay New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2018; New York: Columbia University Press, 2019 $35.00 (U.S.) / 9788193401583 Reviewed by Larry Hannant * Many Canadians became aware of the name Komagata Maru only in 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, still in his…
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#678 A life of lumber and sawmills

Asa Johal and Terminal Forest Products: How a Sikh Immigrant Created BC’s Largest Independent Lumber Company by Jinder Oujla-Chalmers Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $28.95 / 9781550178890 Reviewed by Gurpreet Singh * Asa Johal and Terminal Forest Products is a special interest book for those who wish to learn more about British Columbia’s forest industry,…
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#656 Facing all the ghosts

The Forbidden Purple City: Stories by Philip Huynh Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions 2019 $22.95 / 9781773100784 Reviewed by William New * Editor’s note: We are pleased to report that on February 6, 2020,  The Forbidden Purple City: Stories was shortlisted for the annual George Ryga Award, given to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding…
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#647 Finding Anna Wong

Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads by Ellen van Eijnsbergen and Jennifer Cane (introduction) and Zoë Chan and Keith Wallace (essays), with a foreword by Maurice Wong Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery, 2018 $40.00 / 9781927364314 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner * A handsome hardcover book published in 2018, five years after her death, has released printmaker…
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#646 An abiding hunger for art

Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty, and the Making of a Brown Queer Man by C.E. Gatchalian Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $18.95 / 9781551527536 Reviewed by Vincent Ternida * “I live for art.” This is how C.E. Gatchalian commences his brief but dense collection of interconnected personal essays in Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty, and the Making…
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#645 The journeys of Eizo Osada

The Return of the Shadow by Kunio Yamagishi London: Austin Macauley, 2018 £6.16 (U.K) $25.95 (Cdn) / 9781786937155  /  Please order from your local bookstore or through Book Depository who offer free worldwide shipping. Reviewed by Patricia E. Roy * In July 2019, The Return of the Shadow, by Comox Valley writer Kunio Yamagishi, was shortlisted…
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#615 A floating city sinks

Floating City by Kerri Sakamoto Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2018; Penguin Random House, 2019 $21.00 / 9780345809896 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * “One swallow doth not a summer make” – Shakespeare, from Aristotle Kerri Sakamoto’s flight south to warmer climes after the publication of One Hundred Million Hearts (Penguin, 2005) has been a multi-year migration. And…
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#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, 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

Patricia E. Roy reviews two books: 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…
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