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Interior Chinatown    by Charles Yu order for
Interior Chinatown
by Charles Yu
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Charles Yu presents us with a sly but moving take on being Chinese in America. He confronts all the prejudice that has been their lot and lets the response of Willis Wu, Generic Asian Man, work itself out in a real-life play.

In a very structured format that presents Willis' parents, friends and fellow workers, Wu shows us that the Asian stereotype does not fit as easily in American culture as the Black and White. There is just no place for Yellow. The way for Willis to overcome this fact is not to succumb to stereotypical expectations, but it takes him a while to understand. And while he is learning, we get to see how difficult it can be for Asians to break out of Chinatown.

The glimpses we get of how many Asian immigrants have had to live in SROs (single room only) above the place where they work, and the limited life in a Chinatown compared to what might be available in other parts of the city or country makes us understand how difficult it must be for the Chinese to escape society's expectations. This is a very inventive work, purposefully shallowly written, but deeply insightful.

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