Oriental Girls Desire Romance by Catherine Liu. New York: Kaya, 1997. 331 pages, paper $13.95. Any "starving artist," student, or hobo philosopher-dreamer who lived in New York in the 1980s will remember it as a place much like Tokyo in the early 1990s: full of people, money (everyone else's), high life, low life, long days and longer nights, but mostly full of freedom, danger, and opportunities--sometimes gotten, but more often merely glimpsed. Taking its title from the personal ads placed on behalf of Asian women wanting to flee rural poverty by marrying Western men, Oriental Girls Desire Romance charts a young Chinese American woman's journey from middle-class, Ivy League life to the picturesque Manhattan underworld of snap queens, discos, drug trips, and strip joints--with a trip to China in between. Although the unnamed narrator fits in at her Ivy League college, her intellectual gusto just can't compete with the economic and social status of the trust-funders' and senator's offspring she meets there. Wounded by an unsettled childhood in an immigrant family--a boorish, feudalistic father and a passive-aggressive mother--the narrator seeks refuge in the streets. Caught between the revolutionary communist philosophy of her Maoist father and the capitalist reality
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 1, 2000
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