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Interior Chinatown

von Charles Yu

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
7625722,697 (3.93)108
"One of the funniest books of the year has arrived, a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." --The Washington Post "Fresh and beautiful . . . Interior Chinatown represents yet another stellar destination in the journey of a sui generis author of seemingly limitless skill and ambition." --Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Times Book Review From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.   Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.… (mehr)
  1. 00
    The Sellout von Paul Beatty (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar satirical portrait and courtroom scene
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The audiobook performance was fantastic. ( )
  Bruyere_C | Dec 2, 2021 |
An interesting approach to the novel, combining script writing with prose, and using the stereotypes about Asian Americans to show their manifestation and impact. An important text that highlights the need for more nuanced conversations. ( )
  WiebkeK | Nov 26, 2021 |
Digital audiobook performed by Joel de la Fuente

From the book jacket: Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in production. He’s a bit player here, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy – the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by his mother. Who says to him: Be more..

My reactions:
Yu’s inventive novel won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2020. I suspect this is because of the very unusual way in which it is written; he uses a second-person narrative voice and writes as if this were a screenplay. Also of note, Yu includes some serious social issues regarding racism, stereotyping in film/television, and personal goals vs family obligations.

Personally, I found the structure off-putting. This was probably exacerbated by my listening to it rather than reading the text. It seemed to me that Yu was trying too hard to be clever. And referencing the characters as “Generic Asian Man” or “Old Kung Fu Master” or “Young Asian Beauty” rather than by their names made it more difficult – for me at least – to connect to the characters and care about them. Be that as it may, he had a pretty good story to tell, and eventually I came to appreciate his message.

Joel de la Fuente does a very good job of the audio, but the structure of the writing really does not lend itself well to audio. I am also puzzled, given the underlying message re racism in the performing arts, why the narrator was not Asian. ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 11, 2021 |
Can Different Ever Be American?

If you look different from what Americans imagine to be the American look, can you ever be anything but the other, different, never really a true American? In Charles Yu’s clever, amusing, and simultaneously serious novel disguising as screenplay overlaying commentary on White America vs every other kind of American, it appears pretty hard, perhaps impossible, to jump the appearance barrier. And forget about customs, culture, and language. These also present challenges to immigrants and early generations. Surmountable, yes, but never enough to get by appearance.

In Interior Chinatown, presented as script with Chinatown being a set and all the people actors, all the Asians, here Chinese, strive to climb up into the hierarchy of stardom, from generic Asian guy to the pinnacle, kung fu guy. But then, even kung fu guy is a trap, because he or his female equivalent, is still typecast, because regardless of what else you do, what changes you make to yourself, you can never change your look. By virtue of looking different, you are different, and you will always be different, until the keepers of what is American agree to change the rules and allow you entry. Most immigrants, perhaps your ancestors, found it rough going in America. But if they came from Europe, especially northern Europe, no matter how foreign, they looked like they could be American, and their children did become American, indistinguishable from other Americans. For Asians and Blacks in America, the transition wasn’t as easy, and it is far from being complete, as we all know. (For more on the history of immigration and opposition to it in America, see Daniel Okrent’s very good and penetrating The Guarded Gate, which also expands up Charle Yu’s list of exclusionary immigration laws recounted at the end of the novel.)

Getting into the skin of another people, walking a mile in their shoes, that’s very difficult. Yu’s entertaining look at being different in America helps. It’s a book for all Americans, whether they look the role or not. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Can Different Ever Be American?

If you look different from what Americans imagine to be the American look, can you ever be anything but the other, different, never really a true American? In Charles Yu’s clever, amusing, and simultaneously serious novel disguising as screenplay overlaying commentary on White America vs every other kind of American, it appears pretty hard, perhaps impossible, to jump the appearance barrier. And forget about customs, culture, and language. These also present challenges to immigrants and early generations. Surmountable, yes, but never enough to get by appearance.

In Interior Chinatown, presented as script with Chinatown being a set and all the people actors, all the Asians, here Chinese, strive to climb up into the hierarchy of stardom, from generic Asian guy to the pinnacle, kung fu guy. But then, even kung fu guy is a trap, because he or his female equivalent, is still typecast, because regardless of what else you do, what changes you make to yourself, you can never change your look. By virtue of looking different, you are different, and you will always be different, until the keepers of what is American agree to change the rules and allow you entry. Most immigrants, perhaps your ancestors, found it rough going in America. But if they came from Europe, especially northern Europe, no matter how foreign, they looked like they could be American, and their children did become American, indistinguishable from other Americans. For Asians and Blacks in America, the transition wasn’t as easy, and it is far from being complete, as we all know. (For more on the history of immigration and opposition to it in America, see Daniel Okrent’s very good and penetrating The Guarded Gate, which also expands up Charle Yu’s list of exclusionary immigration laws recounted at the end of the novel.)

Getting into the skin of another people, walking a mile in their shoes, that’s very difficult. Yu’s entertaining look at being different in America helps. It’s a book for all Americans, whether they look the role or not. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Charles Yu’s funny and surreal new novel, Interior Chinatown, hijacks the leaden tropes of Hollywood and the bare form of screenwriting to excavate the inner life of an Asian American man struggling to repudiate the hard-baked boundaries of marginalization.... Willis embodies the ambient anxiety of lacking an explicit identity—Asian Americans take up what Cathy Park Hong calls “apologetic space”—which Yu gestures toward humorously in these ironic naming choices. Willis’s mother once was a Pretty Oriental Flower and a Restaurant Hostess, his father a Kung Fu Master and an Egg Roll Cook....Getting cast as Kung Fu Guy was never the challenge Willis made it out to be. What actually eludes him—and his family, friends, and neighbors who populate Interior Chinatown—is real, emotional freedom.... there are a few places where we catch its glimmers: a karaoke song performed while intoxicated, a love that has forgiving margins, an identity that asserts itself without performance.
hinzugefügt von Lemeritus | bearbeitenThe Rumpus, Jessica Fu (Jun 24, 2020)
 
On the surface, Yu’s title refers to a location setting, in this case a generic Chinese restaurant in a generic Chinatown in a fictional police series entitled White and Black. The protagonist Willis Wu, a veteran of bit parts ranging from Disgraced Son to Striving Immigrant, finds himself at a murder scene in a family restaurant playing yet another variation of Generic Asian Man.... Yu freely weaves satire with social commentary, speculative fiction with identity politics. Without leaving its fantasy world, the story often turns bracingly real. Though much of his protagonist’s insecurities are narrowly focused—not just Asian, but specifically Asian American—his accumulation of concerns becomes surprisingly and relatably inclusive.
hinzugefügt von Lemeritus | bearbeitenAsian Review of Books, Ken Smith (Mar 8, 2020)
 
CHARLES YU SPECIALIZES in ferreting out that peculiar angle, that spark of the unexpected, that re-illumination of an otherwise age-old narrative, and then taking that fantastical story element and spreading it horizontally until it coats the entirety of his writing’s universe. In other words, he writes in conceit.... It’s speculative in its surreal setting. It’s family drama in the centrality of family relationships. It’s satire in its political and social commentary. It’s comedic. It’s literary. It’s weird and experimental. It’s an identity story couched in a kind of a fantasy setting, a kind of a George Saundersesque alternate reality. It’s all of those things, but maybe mostly, it’s allegory. And Yu does allegory as well as anybody, taking an outrageous concept and using it to communicate the dire mundanity and the resonant emotional struggles of the human experience.
 
An acid indictment of Asian stereotypes and a parable for outcasts feeling invisible in this fast-moving world.
hinzugefügt von Lemeritus | bearbeitenKirkus Reviews (Oct 28, 2019)
 

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (3 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Yu, CharlesAutorHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Chase, FredCopy editorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Comrie, TylerUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Huang, LindaUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Knighton, AnnaGestaltungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Thompson, ChuckProofreaderCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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If a film needed an exotic backdrop . . . Chinatown could be made to represent itself or any other Chinatown in the world. Even today, it stands in for the ambiguous Asian anywhere. - Bonnie Tsui
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INT. GOLDEN PALACE
Ever since you were a boy, you've dreamt of being Kung Fu Guy.
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Take what you can get. Try to build a life. A life at the margin made from bit parts.
This is no place for a romance. This is a place for the police to find dead bodies. This is a place where day and night are interchangeable, where we don’t know who we are allowed to be, from one day to the next. How do we have a love story in a place like this?
There are a few years when you make almost all of your important memories. And then you spend the next few decades reliving them.
You say moonlit strolls along the water are supposed to be romantic and she says this isn’t a place, it’s an idea, a generic romantic setting and you say well they don’t call me Generic Asian Man for nothing and you laugh at yourself and this time it’s easier and she laughs, too. This time instead of her making you laugh, you made her laugh and that feels good, making this person laugh, and you tell her that.
She notices you rehearsing. “Will? What are you doing?” “Being in love with you.” “No, you’re not. You’re falling in love.” “Same thing.” “Not the same thing,” she says. “Falling in love is a story.”
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"One of the funniest books of the year has arrived, a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." --The Washington Post "Fresh and beautiful . . . Interior Chinatown represents yet another stellar destination in the journey of a sui generis author of seemingly limitless skill and ambition." --Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Times Book Review From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He's merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.   Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.

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