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Maxine Hong Kingston Biography

(1940– ), The Woman Warrior, Memoirs of a Childhood among Ghosts, China Men

chinese american amy asian

Chinese-American writer, born in Stockton, California, to first-generation immigrant parents from Southern China, educated at the University of California, Berkeley. Her experiences of growing up bilingual and bicultural in a Californian Chinatown are reflected in The Woman Warrior, Memoirs of a Childhood among Ghosts (1976), and its sequel, China Men (1980). Both works are characterized by structural fragmentation, poetic diction, and lavish use of Chinese folklore, often transplanted to American settings. In Britain, Kingston was praised by such eminent voices as Salman Rushdie and Marina Warner for her innovative formal experiments and her charting of new thematic territory; while in North America, she has been acclaimed as the leading figure of a new wave of writing by immigrants, particularly Asian-Americans, including Amy Tan and Bharati Mukherjee, exploring roots and chronicling family histories. Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989), about the would-be poet and visionary Whitman Ah Sing, is a biting satire on Chinese-American male attitudes, and is remarkable for its sustained linguistic dexterity and its imaginative transformation of Chinese myth to American metaphor. The works of Kingston are featured in Amy Ling's Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry (1990). See also Asian-American Literature.

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