Monday, December 20, 2010
Featuring Asian American Authors: Louis Chu
Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature claims that in Eat a Bowl of Tea, Chu "provides a realistic portrayal of life in New York's Chinatown, portraying well the colloquial speech and the tensions of a world in which all the characters are Chinese."
The book met with a lot of criticism at its time of publication (1961) because it dealt with themes not openly talked about in any literature, much less in ethnic American literature. These themes include extramarital affairs, prostitution, and impotence. Because of the book's controversial nature and because of a lack of publicity available for literature written by ethnic Americans, the book received very little acknowledgment. However, in 1974, Frank Chin, along with Jeffery Paul Chan, and Lawson Fusao Inada included it in Aiiieeeee!!! An Anthology of Asian American Writers. Because of its inclusion in this groundbreaking anthology, the book was republished a few times and is now considered an essential text for Asian American and multicultural literature courses.
For more information about Louis Chu, please see the articles in Literature Resource Center including the full text Asian American Writers. Ed. Deborah L. Madsen and part of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series. Or check out Eat a Bowl of Tea from Burling Library:
Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961)
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