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Luck Dispensers

Penelope Fitzgerald, 11 July 1991

The Kitchen God’s Wife 
by Amy Tan.
HarperCollins, 415 pp., £14.99, June 1991, 0 00 223708 3
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... Amy Tan was born in San Francisco soon after her parents emigrated from Communist China. A few years ago she joined a Writers’ Circle, which told her, as Writers’ Circles always do, to write what she had seen herself. She wrote about what she had seen herself and what she hadn’t – her own experience and her mother’s ...

Blair-Speak

Gabriele Annan: Gish Jen’s Jokes, 6 January 2000

Who's Irish 
by Gish Jen.
Granta, 209 pp., £9.99, July 1999, 1 86207 276 0
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... American appeared in 1991, the Chinese American writer Gish Jen has been acclaimed as the new Amy Tan. Amy Tan herself acclaims her on the cover of Mona in the Promised Land (1996), Jen’s second novel; and again on this collection of short stories. Jen has a lot going for her: she is ...

Some Kind of Remedy

Gabriele Annan: Jhumpa Lahiri, 20 July 2000

Interpreter of Maladies 
by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Flamingo, 198 pp., £6.99, June 2000, 0 00 655179 3
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... 2000 for fiction, the New Yorker for best first book and the PEN/Hemingway award. Praise from Amy Tan is quoted on the cover, as it was on the cover of Gish Jen’s Who’s lrish? Tan and Jen both write about first and second-generation Chinese Americans, and are upbeat on the whole, sometimes relentlessly so. With ...

Errant Pinkies

Robert Macfarlane, 1 June 2000

Waiting 
by Ha Jin.
Heinemann, 308 pp., £10, May 2000, 0 434 00914 8
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... of writers of fiction who lived through the Cultural Revolution, and who write in English. Amy Tan and her imitators are American-Chinese writers who have grown up in the States and who, when they do write about China, construct an imagined country out of what they have been told by parents and grandparents. Jin draws on first-hand experience of ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self, 5 February 2004

Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... names, among them Frank Conroy, Stuart Dybeck, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Stone and Amy Tan. Those writers known partly for formal experimentation whose work Wolff did include (among them Lorrie Moore, Denis Johnson and Mary Robison) did not, in the stories Wolff selected, engage with the question of how a story convinces us of its ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... Greenbaum and Randolph Quirk) jostle with poets and novelists (including Medbh McGuckian and Amy Tan). David Dabydeen writes ‘On Not Being Milton: Nigger Talk in England Today’, and discusses, in impeccably establishment English, a question that might just as well come under ‘Art’: how does a black writer in English find an authentic ...

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