Member Reviews

This collection of Maxine Hong Kingston's work is a worthy addition to the Library of America collection. I'm heartened to see LOA finally recognizing the literary genius and cultural importance of writers like Kingston, Octavia E. Butler, and Ann Petry. Hopefully this book will introduce more readers to Kingston's writing, especially her classic memoir, The Woman Warrior.
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Thank you to Netgalley and to the Library of America for this ARC.

This has been my very thorough introduction to Maxine Hong Kingston’s work, and, at 1,000+ pages, it’s taken me months to read. I decided to co-read it with Julia H. Lee’s Understanding Maxine Hong Kingston (cover below), which is very helpful, and which I plan to finish reading today.

Maxine Hong Kingston is an American author, the descendant of Chinese immigrants. The LOA anthology includes The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, Hawai’i One Summer, and other writings, including essays and reviews—notably, for me, Kingston’s important essay, Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers. That essay is critical of perceptions and receptions of her work that attempted to limit her perspective to her Chinese-ness (which she resented, being born in Stockton, California), or to attempting to make her work the definitive single story of Chinese Americans (again, inaccurate).

Kingston’s work is engrossing, and I found her style entertaining. There has been some debate—with little clarification from the author herself—about whether books like The Woman Warrior and China Men are fiction, or non-fiction. Events in those books appear to be a mix of history, memoir, fiction, myth and legend, and tongue-in-cheek speculation—all of which delighted me. I think if one lets go of the need to stick a genre label on the work, as the author appears to prefer, it becomes possible to enjoy the stories on their own terms—which I did.

I will spend some time digesting all I learnt about writing and perspective from Kingston’s work and worldview. I recommend her work, both the “novels” and her essays, which clarify her perspective a little more. I also recommend the book I mentioned above to bring context to Kingston’s work. Kingston’s Wikipedia page is also useful for information about her life and writing.

My particular recommendations from this anthology in order of preference:

The Cultural Mis-readings essay
China Men
The Woman Warrior
What didn’t work for me:

Tripmaster Monkey, mainly because I enjoyed neither the style, nor the protagonist.

Also check out this (2001?) essay by Judy Huang on Frank Chin’s criticism of Kingston’s work, on the Dartmouth website.

My rating of the anthology: 9/10.
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This review refers to the Library of America edition of Maxine Hong Kingston rather than Kingston’s writing itself. Perhaps best known for her 1976 The Woman Warrior, this collection gives readers an opportunity to explore more of her work, and includes China Men (1980) and Tripmaster Monkey: his fake book (1989). Also included are a selection of her essays and other writings. Thus this volume is particularly useful for those unfamiliar with her writing and who want to read more. It would, however, have benefited from an introduction and perhaps some notes/footnotes.
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A former student of Kingston’s at Berkeley, Viet Thanh Nguyen serves as editor of this collection of her works originally published between 1976-1989, but it includes so much more. The “Chronology” serves as a mini biography, giving significantly more detail than a timeline.  Researchers will find this quite useful. In addition, the cross-section of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and addresses provides a rich overview of the multifaceted contributions of Kingston to the body of American Literature.

Pleasure readers and scholars alike will find themselves returning to this volume many times over. Thank you to Maxine Hong Kingston, Library of America, and NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a hefty tome to get through, where some stories are entertaining while others are just okay. It's not something you can read in one sitting like a well-paced novel, but it has its moments.
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This collection features the works of Maxine Hong Kingston. This is my first read of the author so i was very excited to dive into her work and i loved every bit of it
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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Library of America for an advanced copy of this new important collection. 

Library of America has been instrumental in collecting popular works of fiction and nonfiction by renowned writers with lesser known works essays and articles that might have fallen to the wayside that give a much broader portrait of an author for fans and new readers to enjoy and appreciate. Maxine Hong Kingston has joined these ranks with her collection from the Library Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, Other Writings (LOA #355). This features not only her award winning works and fiction, but smaller essays and remembrances of her life, goals and being the author and woman she continues to be. 

The collection includes her first book and National Book Critics Award winner The Warrior Woman, a biography, autofiction of the lives and roles of the women in her life her mother and their difficulties in America. The China Men, focuses on her father and the problems that Chinese men had in America and its long effect on his life. This also won the National Book Award. Tripmaster Monkey is a novel about a beat poets attempt to write the great Chinese American story, in 1960's San Francisco. Also included are essays detailing her life and childhood in Hawai'i, influences in life and writing, and criticisms on the numerous criticisms she received for writing her books. 

The books are very well- written with details that brings the reader not just into the story, but into a different way of thinking that the reader might not be used to. Kingston's nonfiction and her fiction are both mythic and yet real, which elevates it and makes the writing stay with the reader. Kingston expands on the idea of self, belonging and what makes us what we are, and how we are valued. How far can on go when writing about a time that most people don't remember or never even knew, nor contemplated. 

Branded as a feminist author, Kingston seems to me as a reader more for everyone who has empathy, which is being lost both in writing and even more in the world. I know from bookselling that The Warrior Women is still on many summer reading lists, well probably not in Texas anymore, but I feel that she is a writer who has been forgotten, and that is unfortunate. Kingston's writing seemed to be ahead of its time, and I think that time is now, and Kingston should be discussed more. A very good choice by the Library of America.
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This collection of Maxine Hong Kingston's writings is a treat for those familiar with her work and a great source for those unfamiliar. My familiarity is primarily with The Woman Warrior and China Men, having read each multiple times while in school decades ago. I had read but not studied her other fiction but what I loved here were some of her essays and other writings.

I loved reading her rebuke to American reviewers in Cultural Mis-Readings by American Reviewers. What in lesser hands would have sounded like just complaining, Kingston turns it into a detailed argument using reviews both positive and negative illustrating various issues with their ideas on culture and who is labeled as what. I wish more writers would speak up so eloquently about issues they encounter with reviewers (and also interviewers).

My preference would have been to include a critical introductory essay, but that is not a negative about the book, just something I would have liked. The Note on the Texts near the back serves as a bit of contextualization and the section after it, Notes, offers a lot of useful notes to specific passages in the texts. Both of these sections add to the book, especially for anyone new to her work.

Highly recommended for both fans of Kingston as well as those new to her. Having these works collected in one volume allows me to quit using the well-worn copies on my shelf when I reread.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Maxine Hong Kingston is one of my favorite writers of all time and, in my opinion, has changed literary history. This compilation of her writers, some renowned, others you may not have read before, are a treasure that speaks on a personal and universal - from feminism and culture to love of language. There is something mythical about her work, especially one of her most famous "The Woman Warrior" (1976), which has an interesting blend of reviews from acclamation to being allegedly "insensitive". In addition, some writing process insights may be insightful to writers! 

Thank you, NetGalley, Library of America, and Maxine Hong Kingston, for this ebook for my honest review. 

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