Eat Everything Before You Die: A Chinaman in the Counterculture

Paperback | July 1, 2004

byJeffery Paul Chan

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In this vibrant and original novel, Christopher Columbus Wong, orphan son of a Chinatown bachelor community, is trying to invent a family for himself while all around him American popular culture is reinventing itself with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Christopher finds himself on a wild journey with his gay older brother, Peter, a pan-Pacific TV chef; the defrocked, deranged, and eroding ex-director of a Chinatown settlement house, Reverend Ted Candlewick; the sharp-eyed, conspiring matriarch Auntie Mary, the bridge between the conflicting values that make up this cultural stew; and Uncle Lincoln, a bachelor, short order cook, and, quite possibly, Christopher and Peter's father. Further complicating Christopher's voyage are his ex-wives: Winnie, a Hong Kong immigrant looking for a green card, and Melba, an American orphan of the counterculture.

Set against the backdrop of America's wars in Asia and the assimilation of that experience?the refugees, the stereotypes, the food?Eat Everything Before You Die is an ironic commentary on the identities the children of Chinese American immigrants concoct from their questionable histories, cultural practices, and survival strategies.

Chan's riotous story will appeal to general readers, particularly those interested in the Asian American experience, and will be of strong, enduring interest to students and scholars in Asian American Studies.

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In this vibrant and original novel, Christopher Columbus Wong, orphan son of a Chinatown bachelor community, is trying to invent a family for himself while all around him American popular culture is reinventing itself with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Christopher finds himself on a wild journey with his gay older brother, Peter, a pa...

LITFIC
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.71 inPublished:July 1, 2004Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295984368

ISBN - 13:9780295984360

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In this vibrant and original novel, Christopher Columbus Wong, orphan son of a Chinatown bachelor community, is trying to invent a family for himself while all around him American popular culture is reinventing itself with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Christopher finds himself on a wild journey with his gay older brother, Peter, a pan-Pacific TV chef; the defrocked, deranged, and eroding ex-director of a Chinatown settlement house, Reverend Ted Candlewick; the sharp-eyed, conspiring matriarch Auntie Mary, the bridge between the conflicting values that make up this cultural stew; and Uncle Lincoln, a bachelor, short order cook, and, quite possibly, Christopher and Peter's father. Further complicating Christopher's voyage are his ex-wives: Winnie, a Hong Kong immigrant looking for a green card, and Melba, an American orphan of the counterculture.Set against the backdrop of America's wars in Asia and the assimilation of that experience?the refugees, the stereotypes, the food?Eat Everything Before You Die is an ironic commentary on the identities the children of Chinese American immigrants concoct from their questionable histories, cultural practices, and survival strategies.Chan's riotous story will appeal to general readers, particularly those interested in the Asian American experience, and will be of strong, enduring interest to students and scholars in Asian American Studies.Eat Everything Before You Die is informed by Chan's extensive knowledge of Asian American literature. The novel references and pays homage to several pioneering works?-most significantly to Louis Chu's Eat a Bowl of Tea. . . . While Eat a Bowl of Tea concerned itself with the bachelor society in New York City's Chinatown and Chinese American history, Eat Everything Before You Die works with issues of pop culture, stereotypes, race, identity, and the family society. - Shawn Wong, author of Homebase and American Knees