by Reine Arcache Melvin
Ateneo de Manila University Press
The Betrayed is set in a time of dictatorship and political unrest, and it tells the story of two sisters who love the same man. Their passion threatens to lead to betray each other as well as everything that their father stood for. Shy, idealistic Pilar initially resolves to continue her father’s fight against the dictator, while her flamboyant older sister Lali reacts by marrying Arturo, the dicator’s godson. Each tries to find their place in the violent world and continues against the struggle of political corruption and desire. (Adapted from publisher’s description)
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Reine Arcache Melvin now lives in Paris. Her short stories have appeared in literary reviews and anthologies in the United States, France, and Philippines.
by Veronica Montes
Philippine American Literary House, 2018
Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories is a collection of fourteen fictional stories focused on Filipino families. It explores their struggles as navigate through a world influenced by both their native customs and American media. It depicts the grief and joy, and denials and affections that keep these families together. (Adapted from publisher’s description)
Veronica Montes is a Filipino-American writer who lives in the Bay Area of Northern California. Her stories are inspired by the Filipino and mainstream American cultures that she grew up in.
by Jia Pingwa
University of Oklahoma Press, 2016
Originally published in 1993, Ruined City (Fei Du) was banned by China’s State Publishing Administration for its explicit sexual content. Since then, Jia Pingwa’s novel of contemporary China’s social and economic transformation has become a bestseller. The story of a famous contemporary writer’s sexual and legal tangles, the novel uses comedy and parody to comment on issues of intellectual seriousness, censorship, and artistic integrity in a changing Chinese society. (Adapted from publisher’s description)
Jia Pingwa (1952- ) stands with Mo Yan and Yu Hua as one of the most prominent and prolific novelists in contemporary Chinese literature. His novels, short stories and essays have a large readership in mainland China, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The French translation of Ruined City won the French Prix Femina in 1997.
by Wena Poon
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
Shanghai, 1936. On the eve of World War II, the Jewish, Chinese and Japanese customers of a famous Viennese café on Zhoushan Road get together for an international project: to bake the ‘king of the cakes’, the legendary German baumkuchen. Illustrated with modern and vintage photography. (Amazon.com)
American novelist Wena Poon is the author of ten books of fiction, often exploring diaspora culture, transnational identity, and gender. Her stories have been widely anthologized and translated into French, Italian, and Chinese.
edited by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner
University of Oklahoma Press, 2015
Volume 4 in the Chinese Literature Today Book Series
These stories are drawn from the pages of Chutzpah!, one of China’s most innovative literary magazines. They range in setting from the suburbs of Nanjing to the mountains of Xinjiang Province, from London’s Chinatown to a universe seemingly sprung from a video game. In them, readers encounter a sweet, lonely fabric store owner, a lesbian house cleaner, a posse of shit-talking vo-tech students, a human hive-mind, a jeep-driving swordsman who reads Borges and Nabokov, and other assortments of bizarre humans and water spirits. (adapted from the publisher’s website)
Based in rural Anhui Province, Ou Ning is author of New Sound of Beijing. He served as editor-in-chief of Chutzpah! magazine from 2011 to 2014. Austin Woerner is the translator of Doubled Shadows: Selected Poetry of Ouyang Jianghe.
by Naomi J. Williams
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015
Williams makes an entertainingly erudite debut with a prismatic reimagining of the doomed French attempt to circumnavigate the globe in the 1780s. With their “scientific mission paramount, no reasonable expense to be spared,” captains Jean-Francois de Galaup de Lapérouse and Paul-Antoine-Marie Fleuriot, Viscount de Langle, set sail in 1785 aboard the Boussole and the Astrolabe. As the “savants” onboard—geologists, physicists, botanists—prepare to study the exotic, Williams’ narrative focuses on the human. Especially poignant is her illustration of how native cultures are poorly interpreted by European explorers celebrating the virtues of Enlightenment. From overweening functionaries and pretentious colonialists, captains and savants are soon forced to decipher personalities and politics. Amid the seesawing boredom and terror of days at sea, William crafts an elegant and entrancing narrative to match her dissection of the landfalls. Literary art of the first order, intelligent and evocative in the way of the best of historical fiction. — Kirkus Reviews
Born in Japan, Naomi J. Williams holds an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. In 2009, she received a Pushcart Prize and a Best American Honorable Mention. She lives in Northern California and is working on her second novel.
edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen
University of Washington Press, 2014
Pairing image and text, Troubling Borders showcases creative writing and visual artworks by sixty-one women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Filipino ancestry. The collection features compelling storytelling that troubles the borders of categorization and reflects the multilayered experience of Southeast Asian women.
The diverse voices featured here have been shaped by colonization, wars, globalization, and militarization. For some of these women on the margins of the margin, crafting and showing their work is a bold act in itself. Their provocative and accessible creations tell unique stories, provide a sharp contrast to familiar stereotypes – Southeast Asian women as exotic sex symbols, dragon ladies, prostitutes, and “bar girls”-and serve as entry points for broader discussions on questions of history, memory, and identity. (Publisher’s website)
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud is associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University; Lan Duong is associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside; Mariam B. Lam is associate professor of comparative literature, media and cultural studies, and director of Southeast Asian studies, at the University of California, Riverside; and Kathy L. Nguyen is a writer and editor in San Francisco.