March 16, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Troublemaker and Other Saints

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Christina Chiu
publisher
Putnam
genre
Fiction, Short Stories
We gave it a B+

Chiu’s honest, complex debut grapples with the marginality of existing between cultures and generations while exploring the lives of three Chinese families. While each of the 11 short stories in Troublemakers and Other Saints focuses on a type (Beauty, Doctor, Matriarch, etc.), Chiu moves beyond labels to reveal unique personalities and struggles. In ”Doctor,” Georgie, once a model child, finds herself exiled from her family after marrying a black man. In ”Star,” a Chinese mother fighting for involvement in her gay son’s life attends Garbo-movie nights with him and his boyfriend. Unflinching and raw, this isn’t your typical immigrant story collection: It’s deeply satisfying — and thankfully free of the requisite descriptions of Oriental trinkets and diatribes about Asian cooking.

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