Books: On the Gold Mountain

CHINA MEN by Maxine Hong Kingston; Knopf; 308 pages; $10.95

With The Woman Warrior (1976), Author Maxine Hong Kingston left herself a hard act to follow. That book, her first, indelibly rendered the pain of growing up female and Chinese in the U.S., of being in effect a servant among the dispossessed. It bridged two vastly different cultures; its drawing of Chinese legends and customs was thorough and fascinating, while its evocation of the uncertainties of assimilation was quintessentially American. The Woman Warrior did, in short, what all great autobiographies do: it turned self-knowledge...

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