Sunday, April 08, 2007

China Dog and Other Tales from a Chinese Laundry - Judy Fong Bates

The Basics: China Dog and Other Tales from a Chinese Laundry, Judy Fong Bates, 1997, 148 pages, hard cover

How I found it: After I read Midnight at the Dragon Cafe, I decided to see what else Fong Bates had written.

What's it about?: A collection of short stories about Chinese immigrant families in small Ontario towns. Each story invovles a set of sometime interrelated characters and family members dealing with a crisis or momentous occasion. One of the main themes is being the only Canadian born in a group of more traditional Chinese.

Did I like it?: The stories in this collection are good but not great. If you have read Midnight at the Dragon Cafe, many of the themes and even settings will be familiar. This made me feel that I had already read some of these stories; it made me feel that Fong Bates was rehashing the same old same old. Overall though, the stories were pleasant to read and fairly well crafted.

Will you like it?: This isn't a book I would advise anyone to rush out to pick up. It is pleasant enough, but there isn't really any particular reason to read it. If you are really into Chinese Immigrant stories, I suggest Wayson Choy and Denise Chong before this book.

But don't take my word for it: The usual from Amazon, a review from someone at SFU, and one from are all that is available.

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