Conversations with Maxine Hong Kingston

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 237 pages
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In 1976 Maxine Hong Kingston burst into American literature with the publication of The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Since then her subsequent works--China Men (1980) and Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989)--have startled readers with their complex projections of Asian-American life as a bi-cultural and bilingual adventure filled with contemporary confusions and ancient legends, inherited values, and new loyalties. Kingston has written of her family upbringing in Stockton, California, of the stories her mother told her as advice and warning, of her father's illegal arrival in the United States, of the exploits of grandfathers who worked on the rails in California, of San Francisco street life in the 1960s, and of traditional Chinese legends. Whatever her subject, she claims America for herself and other Asian Americans whose histories are an essential part of the larger American tapestry.

In this collection of interviews Kingston talks about her life, her writing, and her objectives. From the first, her books have hovered along the hazy line between fiction and nonfiction, memoir and imagination. As she answers her critics and readers, she both clarifies the differences and exults in the difficulties of distinguishing between the remembered and the re-created.

She explains how she worked to bridge her parents' Chinese dialect with American slang, how she learned to explore her inheritance and find new relevance in her mother's "talk stories," and how she developed the complex juxtapositions of myths and memoir that fill her books. Always savvy, often provocative, constantly amused and amusing, Kingston provides a vivid commentary on her writing and offers insight into a body of her work.


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Conversations with Maxine Hong Kingston

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Compiling these 16 interviews with Kingston, dating from 1977 to 1996 and dealing with The Woman Warrior (LJ 9/15/76), China Men (LJ 6/15/80), and Tripmaster Monkey (LJ 4/1/89), seems like a great ... Read full review


Something Comes from Outside Onto
Talk with Mrs Kingston Timothy Pfaff
Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston Arturo Islas with Marilyn
An Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston Kay Bonetti
To Be Able to See the Tao Jody Hoy
A Conversation with Maxine Hong
Talking with the Woman Warrior William Satake Blauvelt
A Conversation with Maxine Hong
Coming Home Paul Skenazy
Kingston at the University Paul Skenazy
Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Maxine Hong Kingston Donna Perry
Creating Peace Out of Pathos Joan Smith
An Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston

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About the author (1998)

Born in California to immigrant Chinese parents, Kingston was educated at the University of California at Berkeley. Kingston soared to literary celebrity upon the publication of her autobiographica The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts (1976). The Woman Warrior is dominated by Kingston's mother; her next work, China Men (1980), although not autobiographical in the manner of her previous book, is focused on her father and on the other men in her family, giving fictionalized, poetic versions of their histories. The combination of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and myth in both books create a form of balanced opposites that one critic has likened to yin and yang. Her first novel, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, was published in 1989.

Paul Skenazy is a professor of American literature and provost at Kresge College, University of California, Santa Cruz. Tera Martin is completing her doctorate in American literature at University of California, Santa Cruz.

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