Strangers In Paradise

Even as they stake claims to the American West, Asians experience the ambivalence of assimilation and the perils of prosperity

At the western edge of America, where the continent falls into the Pacific as it follows the sun, the coast has always seemed an image of Eden, a garden of earthly delights. "There is an island called California, on the right hand of the Indies, very near the Earthly Paradise," wrote a 16th century Spanish fantasist in a novel that gave the Golden State its name. California and other stretches of the Pacific shore would become the fated and fateful destinations of adventurous journeys westward by European settlers, cowboys, miners, Forty- Niners and dreamers. There the travelers would pass, or so...

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