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California Chinese-American Food Los Angeles

Christmas Chinese-American Style

Christmas in Los Angeles is a contradiction in terms. The plastic icicles taped to the roof. The electrified snowman set among the cacti. But Christmas Chinese-American style takes weirdness to a whole new level. Not that my family was strange. We were like others at Christmas, Chinese-American or not. For Christmas Eve, we invited all the relatives, […]

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Craft Family ghosts Historical fiction Shanghai noir

A Reading List

My novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is set in Shanghai 1937. Does any story set in the past qualify as historical fiction? Hilary Mantel says historical fiction must do far more than dredge up the past: A relation of past events bring[s] you up against events and mentalities that, should you choose to describe […]

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Family ghosts Shanghai

A Pretty Girl

My father once had a very pretty cousin named May. She came from his mother’s side of the family, jewelers from Wuzhen (乌镇). I’d love to see Wuzhen’s wood-crafted homes and ancient bridges, though I hear that few Chinese still inhabit the place. In my grandmother’s time, though, it was a bustling town. Her father was […]