Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion

Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion

Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion

Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion


Maxine Hong Kingston's first book, Woman Warrior gained instant popularity and critical success, winning top national literary awards as well as a place on the best seller list. Readers recognized in China Men, a follow up memoir, and Tripmaster Monkey, a genre-defying novel, the same beguiling narrative voice and panoramic prose. This critical study provides an introduction to Kingston's works with in-depth literary analysis of her three long narratives. It helps students understand the important thematic concerns, such as the immigrant acculturalization process and the literary innovations such as the talk story narrative mode introduced by Kingston. Taking readers beyond these works, this volume offers a guided tour through the Asian immigrant experience, and the history of Asian American Literature. This study examines the tremendous cross-over appeal of Kingston's works with readers of all ages, genders, ethnic and national backgrounds.

Readers are introduced to Maxine Hong Kingston with a fascinating biographical chapter. A literary heritage chapter examines not only how Kingston fits into the Asian American literary tradition, but also how her exuberant books helped shape and redefine this important area of literature. A full chapter is devoted to each work, covering all literary components; plot and narrative construction, character development, symbolism, historical context and themes. An alternate critical approach is also given for each work. An extensive bibliography covers works by and about Kingston.


The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not simply have one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But their novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. the real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. For the first series, writers in the top-ranked group who had received no book-length, academic, literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is being addressed nowhere else. the success of these volumes as reported by reviewers, librarians, and teachers led to an expansion of the series mandate to include some writ-

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