Viet Thahn Nguyen, Editor

The Library of America


The Bicentenary year of 1976 marked Maxine Hong Kingston’s arrival on the American literary scene with the publication of her work The Woman Warriorwinner of the National Book Critics Circle award. The groundbreaking story is of a modern Chinese American woman from a recently immigrated family entwined with the fable of a woman warrior-general of ancient China. The skillfully woven thread of the story compares the struggles of a woman demanding recognition by a society that has traditionally denigrated women to the struggles of the writer to be accepted by her new country while respecting her heritageThe whole is an anthem to the power and resilience of women.

… a fine volume for anyone seeking to learn about Kingston’s visionary work …

The compendium of Kingston’s works includes China Men—the profound and triumphant story of Kingston’s ancestors who forged a new life in America. Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book is the story of the gloriously-named Wittman Ah Sing, a fifth-generation Chinese American. The Berkeley graduate and poet encounters the wild San Francisco Beat scene in an uplifting and often funny eulogy to the 1960’s counterculture. On a more personal note Hawai‘i One Summer is a collection of Kingston’s essays which cover topics ranging from her condemnation of reviewers’ supercilious and downright lazy ethnic pigeonholing treatment of The Woman Warrior, to the delights of surfing, the trials and tribulations of home-buying, and a discussion of the work of beat poet Lew Welch Jr., leading light of the Beat generation literary movement.


The Library of America has produced a fine volume for anyone seeking to learn about Kingston’s visionary work, or for any existing fan wishing to dip into old favorites.


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