Asian Literature

Hot Asian Sales and More News

That title made you look didn’t it? Admit it. But I am NOT spamming, selling inappropriate body access or anything else. LOL

In this week’s Shelf Awareness, there are two news tidbits of interest to those of us interested in Asian Lit:

Unfortunate news from the Bodhi Tree Bookstore, West Hollywood, Calif.: the sale by longtime owners Stan Madson and Phil Thompson to Karuana Gatimu and Lori Cutler (Shelf Awareness, September 21, 2011) has fallen through because the offer was “rescinded,” the store said.

“We had invested a great deal of hope and optimism in the offer agreement that, after many months of planning and negotiation, has come to naught,” the owners wrote. “As a consequence, we have re-contacted interested parties in the business to explore opening a new dialogue. We will make every effort to keep the Bodhi Tree going in the community. If you know of anyone who has an interest and seems qualified to assume and continue the business, please contact us. Time is critical but we remain hopeful.”

Madson and Thompson have already sold the building in which the Bodhi Tree located. A new owner will need to move the store.


Though a freak snowstorm kept many New Yorkers from venturing out last Saturday afternoon, quite a few authors and book lovers made their way to the third annual Page Turner Festival, benefiting the Asian American Writers Workshop. Alexander Chee was there to drum up some advance buzz for “Hot Asian Singles,” an e-book imprint the AAWW hopes to launch early next year that will publish a mix of fiction and nonfiction in the 6,000-20,000 word range.

“Part of what’s driving this is a sense that there was work that had been overlooked by the regular outlets both for its content and its size,” Chee explained. “Digital publishing is a way for us to bring out this kind of work without the costs that used to weigh us down when doing earlier anthologies.” Proceeds from Hot Asian Singles will be split between the writers and the AAWW, and Chee suggested that the workshop’s earnings might eventually support print projects. The first titles in the program will be announced soon; check @HotAsianSingles at Twitter for details.

Harbour by Paul House

A book review by Mirella Patzer of Historical Novel Reviews.
Harbour is a novel about Hong Kong society in the months leading up to the 1941 invasion of Hong Kong by Japan. It is a time of great contrast, of decadence and deficiency, of prejudice and acceptance, of greed, and of love and hate.
Molly is a young girl of mixed blood caught between two worlds; those of her Chinese mother and her American military father, Willard Russell. Willard is wheelchair bound in Hong Kong and near destitute. He sends for his wife and daughter who must make an onerous journey from their home in China to Hong Kong. Along the way, Molly’s mother dies and Willard must now raise his young daughter alone and in poverty.

When Willard receives an invitation to allow Molly to become the companion of the beautiful Tung Nien, the wife of a Chinese drug overlord and head of the Dragon Triad group, Chen Liew, under the guidance of Miss Dekyvere an ex-pat making her home in Hong Kong, he readily accepts. Deep in the throes of grief, Willard drinks himself into daily stupors. He soon meets Kenji, a Japanese barber who becomes his mentor.

Dr. Laughton and his wife Mary are childless and their marriage is failing. The moment Dr. Laughton sets his eyes on Tung Nien, he is intrigued by Tung Nien and lusts for her. Bored with her loveless, sexless marriage, Tung Nien begins a heated affair with Dr. Laughton.

As the days of the imminent invasion grow closer, the lives of the novel’s characters intertwine, enmesh, and collide. Their lives spin out of control and degrade. Each must confront their own destiny in search of happiness.

Paul House does an excellent job of displaying his characters with all their faults and strengths. Like a tapestry, he weaves their lives together, sometimes in good ways, and sometimes in ways most detrimental to their lives. This keeps the interest strong throughout the story. Not only does he depict the political climate, he also includes the criminal element, the drug trade, in the story.

If you’re interested in reading a good novel in a unique setting, then this is a good one to pick up.