on February 15, 2002
Though I wouldn't call Disappearing Moon Cafe the BEST book ever, I would hardly go as far as to call it the worst. Comparing it to works such as Six Records of a Floating Life is, furthermore, problematic; the distinctions between Chinese literature and Chinese-Canadian literature are far too vast to place in the same category.
I would recommend this book to anyone, though it is definitely a very slanted view of the Chinese-Canadian experience. It does draw out certain important points, however: the divisions between the Chinese immigrant and other races, the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the role of identity, and both family and interracial relationships. It is DEFINITELY a very intriguing read.
on November 6, 1997
It's been nearly four years since I first read this book but I find it lingers long in my thoughts. The ability to stay in your mind is, I feel, the sign of a truly great book. A loving story of complex lives moving back and forth in time and place. Sad and joyous without shallow sentimentality. Forget about the books by Amy Tan. If you really want to read a great story about Chinese families, this is the book to buy! Sky Lee is ten times the writer that Ms. Tan will ever be. This is a must read.
on July 19, 2000
This is perhaps the worst piece of politically-correct, falsely historical literature the CanLit factories have ever produced. The narrator of the novel implies that the entire book is just her trying to make the past all goody-goody so she can live a happy care-free life, and as a result the book reads like a 14yr-old gossiping about the Backstreet Boys. If you want to read good Chinese literature, read something else, Six Records Of A Floating Life or something. If you want to read a bland, tasteless, stereotypical novel with flat, uninteresting, stupid and weak characters, read Disappearing Moon Cafe. A book that is not Chinese-Canadian literature so much as it is an example as to just how easily books that play to the racial stereotype can find a publisher. I am from a Chinese family that's been in Vancouver for over a hundred years, and the "Chinese-Canadian" experience detailed in this book bears no relations whatsoever to actuality. The only redeeming quality of this novel, for me, is that there's a chapter set in a building my family used to own. For immortalizing this brick forever in the great genre of poor literature, I commend Sky Lee. This book is the foul stench upon which Chinese literature floats, and should not have any more time wasted on it.