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Who's Irish

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Its provocatively misleading title notwithstanding, Who’s Irish?, a story collection by the author of Mona in the Promised Land, chronicles the Chinese-American experience with tart realism and sometimes guffaw-inducing humor. Parents, in-laws, husbands, and wives wrangle over tradition, child rearing, and even art as they struggle to realize their idiosyncratic dreams. Although one plot set in China meanders, Gish Jen’s stories are amazingly compressed, and she studs them with perversely funny social disasters that explode like skillfully placed narrative land mines. Whether she’s writing as an underachieving pre-adolescent boy, a half-literate immigrant grandmother, or a reluctant soccer mom, her voice sings with authenticity. A