Books: Full Circle

TRIPMASTER MONKEY: HIS FAKE BOOK by Maxine Hong Kingston

Knopf; 340 pages; $19.95

In China Men (1980), Maxine Hong Kingston recalled a group of immigrant Orientals shoveling foreign ground and shouting "Hello down there in China! . . . Hello, my heart and my liver . . . I want home. Home. Home. Home. Home."

But for most of them, return was a financial and political chimera. Against their wishes and traditions, home became the U.S. Initially, their neighbors regarded them, in Bret Harte's words, as the "Heathen Chinee," an enduring caricature of cheap labor and social isolation, living in towns...

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