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Troublemaker And Other Saints Paperback – Apr 4 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (TRD); Reprint edition (April 4 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425183432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425183434
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,527,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Tragedy and epiphany strike with equal force in this collection of 11 related short stories featuring the Chinese-American members of an extended network of family, friends, lovers and neighbors combating their private and public shames and struggling to find a place to call home. In "Troublemaker," Eric Tsui, a teenager growing up in a squalid corner of New York's Chinatown, suffers physical abuse at the hands of his brother and rediscovers both his national identity and his humanity when he's forced to reconcile with an elderly neighbor he injured in a prank. Eric's abusive brother, Jonathan, resurfaces in two other stories: "Trader," in which his engagement falls apart when his fianc‚e is overwhelmed by his uncontrollable anger and feelings of inferiority at being Asian, and "Gentleman," in which he participates in a dramatic one-night stand in Hong Kong on the night of the handover. After years of racial slurs, his Hong Kong lover, Amy, an "Asian beauty," turns the Asian sexual fetish on its head, trying to regain her sense of self-worth through encounters with men she meets through the personals; in "Beauty," she brings white men to their knees, but her thoughts drift to the only Chinese lover she's had, Jonathan. The list of issues confronted in the stories is grim domestic violence, suicide, crime, sexual abuse, anorexia, racism and yet Chiu somehow manages to avoid cynicism or despair. Torn between the Asian inclination to save face and the American penchant for sharing troubles and emotions, her characters are tenderly and skillfully drawn, and, as the title suggests, most ultimately find redemption. In sharp, witty, heartbreaking prose, Chui communicates the Asian-American experience as adeptly and freshly as Sherman Alexie describes the Native American experience, or Junot D¡az defines Latino life in the U.S. (Mar. 5)Forecast: Advance praise is already pouring in for this impressive collection it is an alternate selection for BOMC and QPB, and a nominee for a BOMC First Fiction Award, and likely will be one of the most talked-about literary debuts of the year.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This debut offers a rich but wholly edible slice of diverse contemporary Chinese American life. Chiu's 11 stories are so tightly woven together that they read like a novel. Shifting from New York City to Hong Kong, the stories occur mostly around the time the British were returning the latter to China and expertly chronicle the daily struggles of their characters. The "troublemakers and saints" who appear prominently in one story often reappear as secondary but supporting characters in another's poignant narrative. Thus, in "Troublemaker," skateboarding aficionado Eric must do penance for seriously wounding an elderly neighbor by daily tending to the old man's needs. Eric materializes again in "Trader," his brother Johnnie's testimonial about how not to negotiate lasting love and affection. After tasting this creative morsel, readers will be hungry for Chiu's first novel or second work of collected stories. Recommended for all collections.DFaye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Libs., Eugene
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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IT'S SNOWING. My fingers itch from the cold, but still, I can't go in. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Though this is a collection of short stories, the author manages to create some complex characters within the tales of life among a group of Asian Americans. Far from the mawkish fare derided by some other reviewers, I found Chiu's prose to be efficient and interesting. Sure, she does use a fair amount of patois in the dialogue of some of the older characters who struggle with the English language, but it isn't obnoxious. The author skillfully introduces characters as a minor part of one story and then builds on that character in a succeeding chapter. Ms. Chiu provides a window on the experiences of a group of people that may not be representative of the entire Asian American experience, which was probably not her goal anyways, but it does shed light on some of the problems universal to those outside of the mainstream. Identity crises, ghettoization, self-hate, violence are all laid bare for the reader to experience through the eyes of these characters. However I wasn't searching for any deeper meaning in this work; I accepted for what it was -- good fiction.
There were some unanswered questions that left holes in some of the stories. Just how did the golden child Georgianna wind up married to a Black man? Was she just being rebellious or did she love him? With the gay characters (there are two), how did they come out to their families? And as for the girl who isn't into Asian men -- what happened to make her that way? Surely she wasn't born with an aversion to her own kind. I realize that the constraints of the short story form prevent any in-depth treatment of those questions, but just a few sentences of background could have cleared those things up. Then again, maybe those were deliberate omissions to lend a bit of mystery to the characters. Still, I thought this was a very good read.
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Format: Hardcover
The day After I put down the book after finishing it in one day, my mind was still dancing from stories to stories, from the Wongs, to the Shengs, to the Tsuis. But after I got over the excitement, part of me was thinking, "Trouble Maker" is just like the "Job Luck Club", stereotyping Chinese American, making up all the sad stories just to prove that we are different from all other races and never changes. The "face thing", the cover-up of family scandal, the fix-up, the dinner, and the "bao ying (what goes around comes around, payback)" are all there from JLC to the Trouble Maker. You almost can predict the end of the story if you know the usual stereotypes about Chinese American. Nevertheless, the book still intrigued me. I think first of all, the story's setting makes a big difference (or should I say a big step forward) from JLC. Unlike JLC, Trouble Maker is not just about love and happy endings. Instead, Chiu drew us a bigger picture of the nowaday society, sexuality, suicide, disorder, crime, devoice and global business. You can see vividly how the characters struggle in this canvas as real people. Chiu's writing is also very spiritual, nothing like the JLC begging for cheap tears. She wrote about tragidies, but she could strik up a real conversation that is also humourous. At the end, it just got me thinking, instead of crying or sympathizing for the characters. I am thinking, what'd I do, twenty years later, if my daughter tells me she is bi? I can see me reading this book again by then.
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Format: Hardcover
Suave and seductive, yet shockingly smart. Similar to your average Mitsubishi ad hiding behind slanted eyes and catchy tunes, Christina Chiu's "Troublemakers and Other Saints" appeals to the maturing Generation X, the twentysomethings who coined the phrase "multitasking" for that essential element of practical/portable pleasure. Judging a book by its cover, this glossy eyecatcher could be the fluffy fodder touted by American women on their lunch breaks, in between Oprah's Book Club selections. The alluring graphics, tempered pages, and gapingly irreverent title aesthetically appeal to those quick-read junkies encouraged by the Nike swoosh to "just do it." However, it may come as something of a revelation that this collected novella has some worth besides a fashionable coffee table muse. Cunning yarns are vaguely enchanting, reaching beyond the typical Asian mystique. Characters play with the reader's mind, seamlessly binding the work as a whole through the threads of vibrant personality. Lucid if not lurid ambiance plays an eclectic theme, promising that certain flawless ending even when essentially left unsaid. These tales are but reflections of ourselves in the vices we would rather ignore. The maxims of "Trouble Makers and Other Saints" are Aesop's Fables for the 20th. Century, with more hope of remaining in the reader's already overloaded subconscious than the latest disposable paperback.
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Format: Hardcover
Suave and seductive, yet shockingly smart. Similar to your average Mitsubishi ad hiding behind slanted eyes and catchy tunes, Christina Chiu's "Troublemakers and Other Saints" appeals to the maturing Generation X, the twentysomethings who coined the phrase "multitasking" for that essential element of practical/portable pleasure. Judging a book by its cover, this glossy eyecatcher could be the fluffy fodder touted by American women on their lunch breaks, in between Oprah's Book Club selections. The alluring graphics, tempered pages, and gapingly irreverent title aesthetically appeal to those quick-read junkies encouraged by the Nike swoosh to "just do it." However, it may come as something of a revelation that this collected novella has some worth besides a fashionable coffee table muse. Cunning yarns are vaguely enchanting, reaching beyond the typical Asian mystique. Characters play with the reader's mind, seamlessly binding the work as a whole through the threads of vibrant personality. Lucid if not lurid ambiance plays an eclectic theme, promising that certain flawless ending even when essentially left unsaid. These tales are but reflections of ourselves in the vices we would rather ignore. The maxims of "Trouble Makers and Other Saints" are Aesop's Fables for the 20th. Century, with more hope of remaining in the reader's already overloaded subconscious than the latest disposable paperback.
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