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Interior Chinatown

de Charles Yu

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,4288713,106 (3.9)152
Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.… (més)
  1. 10
    The Sellout de Paul Beatty (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar satirical portrait and courtroom scene
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» Mira també 152 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 86 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The author offers a fresh take on the immigrant experience through an original format (the novel as TV show screenplay). Hghly recommended for all libraries. ( )
  librarianarpita | Apr 28, 2024 |
Fun and amusing but did not finish as I kind of lost interest with the script-like format. Was looking for more of a story to sink into this week.
  BookyMaven | Apr 27, 2024 |
Very interesting book. Its told entirely like a script of a TV show (he uses a typewriter font type and the page numbers are all on the upper right of each page, like it was a type-written script - annoying in book form when looking for the page number on the left hand side of the book ;) . Willis lives in tenement apartment building and works in a Chinese Restaurant, but he's part of an endless production of a police procedural drama called Black and White. He and his friends and family are part of the actors and extras for this show. Young Asian Man, or Egg Roll Chef, Silent Henchman; all the tropes that we've grown up with. But he's never been a main character, his dream is to be Kung Fu Guy. I was never quite sure if the show was real, or it was an alternate universe, or just a narrative device. Ultimately its Yu's examination of the history of Asian culture in American and how its depicted in popular media. I enjoyed it quite a bit, recommend. ( )
  mahsdad | Apr 3, 2024 |
The format of this novel as a metafictional sometimes hallucinatory screenplay is one I'm sort of surprised has met with as much favor as it has. It's not the most accessible, but it is super interesting and will give you a perspective you probably haven't spent much time considering before (at least I hadn't). The format of the novel as screenplay at first led me into confusion, wondering what was "real" and what was "fiction" inside this fictional world. Is his dad really a kung-fu expert as he's presented, or is that part of the Kung Fu Guy metaphor for making it vs. not making it as an Asian-American? And then realizing that the screenplay format reinforces the idea of the main character playing a role in his normal everyday life as an Asian American was an a-ha moment. As he says in a section in which the Asian-American experience is essentially placed on trial:

But at the same time, I'm guilty, too. Guilty of playing this role. Letting it define me. Internalizing the role so completely that I've lost track of where reality starts and the performance begins.


Which gets to how this novel is not just about how America treats and has historically treated Asian-Americans, it's about how Asian-Americans navigate and behave in this reality. How people perform the role expected of them, to what degree they are forced into doing it ("No one will hire you because you don't have an accent. It's weird.") and to what degree they choose it themselves. The main character's marriage falls apart evidently because he can't let go of that role that's expected of him as an Asian-American, and later watching his daughter he reflects on the choice he's made and how he hopes she'll be different:

Watching her is like finding old letters, of things you knew thirty years ago and haven't thought of since. How to feel, how to be yourself. Not how to perform or act. How to be.


It's a powerful and inventive novel, well worth its win of the National Book Award. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Liked but did not love this one.

Some really sad and beautiful passages, a little confusing at times, often funny.

I wish I had just settled in and read it at once instead of in spurts because I think I lost a little reading it the way I did. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 86 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Charles Yu’s funny and surreal new novel, Interior Chinatown, hijacks the leaden tropes of Hollywood and the bare form of screenwriting to excavate the inner life of an Asian American man struggling to repudiate the hard-baked boundaries of marginalization.... Willis embodies the ambient anxiety of lacking an explicit identity—Asian Americans take up what Cathy Park Hong calls “apologetic space”—which Yu gestures toward humorously in these ironic naming choices. Willis’s mother once was a Pretty Oriental Flower and a Restaurant Hostess, his father a Kung Fu Master and an Egg Roll Cook....Getting cast as Kung Fu Guy was never the challenge Willis made it out to be. What actually eludes him—and his family, friends, and neighbors who populate Interior Chinatown—is real, emotional freedom.... there are a few places where we catch its glimmers: a karaoke song performed while intoxicated, a love that has forgiving margins, an identity that asserts itself without performance.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaThe Rumpus, Jessica Fu (Jun 24, 2020)
 
On the surface, Yu’s title refers to a location setting, in this case a generic Chinese restaurant in a generic Chinatown in a fictional police series entitled White and Black. The protagonist Willis Wu, a veteran of bit parts ranging from Disgraced Son to Striving Immigrant, finds himself at a murder scene in a family restaurant playing yet another variation of Generic Asian Man.... Yu freely weaves satire with social commentary, speculative fiction with identity politics. Without leaving its fantasy world, the story often turns bracingly real. Though much of his protagonist’s insecurities are narrowly focused—not just Asian, but specifically Asian American—his accumulation of concerns becomes surprisingly and relatably inclusive.
 
CHARLES YU SPECIALIZES in ferreting out that peculiar angle, that spark of the unexpected, that re-illumination of an otherwise age-old narrative, and then taking that fantastical story element and spreading it horizontally until it coats the entirety of his writing’s universe. In other words, he writes in conceit.... It’s speculative in its surreal setting. It’s family drama in the centrality of family relationships. It’s satire in its political and social commentary. It’s comedic. It’s literary. It’s weird and experimental. It’s an identity story couched in a kind of a fantasy setting, a kind of a George Saundersesque alternate reality. It’s all of those things, but maybe mostly, it’s allegory. And Yu does allegory as well as anybody, taking an outrageous concept and using it to communicate the dire mundanity and the resonant emotional struggles of the human experience.
 
An acid indictment of Asian stereotypes and a parable for outcasts feeling invisible in this fast-moving world.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaKirkus Reviews (Oct 28, 2019)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (3 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Charles Yuautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Chase, FredCopy editorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Comrie, TylerDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Huang, LindaAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Knighton, AnnaDissenyadorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thompson, ChuckProofreaderautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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If a film needed an exotic backdrop . . . Chinatown could be made to represent itself or any other Chinatown in the world. Even today, it stands in for the ambiguous Asian anywhere. - Bonnie Tsui
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For Sophia and Dylan
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INT. GOLDEN PALACE
Ever since you were a boy, you've dreamt of being Kung Fu Guy.
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Take what you can get. Try to build a life. A life at the margin made from bit parts.
This is no place for a romance. This is a place for the police to find dead bodies. This is a place where day and night are interchangeable, where we don’t know who we are allowed to be, from one day to the next. How do we have a love story in a place like this?
There are a few years when you make almost all of your important memories. And then you spend the next few decades reliving them.
You say moonlit strolls along the water are supposed to be romantic and she says this isn’t a place, it’s an idea, a generic romantic setting and you say well they don’t call me Generic Asian Man for nothing and you laugh at yourself and this time it’s easier and she laughs, too. This time instead of her making you laugh, you made her laugh and that feels good, making this person laugh, and you tell her that.
She notices you rehearsing. “Will? What are you doing?” “Being in love with you.” “No, you’re not. You’re falling in love.” “Same thing.” “Not the same thing,” she says. “Falling in love is a story.”
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Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.

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