Maxine Hong Kingston

When The Woman Warrior appeared in the U.S. in 1976, it sent an electrifying buzz across the Pacific. I was a young, aspiring novelist in Hong Kong then, and what I felt was: Finally. A book by someone more or less like me. About time.

Though billed as a memoir, Maxine Hong Kingston's first book was, in fact, a novel about being more or less Chinese in the world. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and became a literary classic. But in Asia, the initial reception to Kingston was muted — even negative. The most damning...

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