Interior Chinatown

Interior Chinatown

Book - 2020
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From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2020].
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780307907196
Characteristics: 270 pages ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

Willis Wu is an actor who dreams of being a leading man but keeps finding himself in the same role: Generic Asian Man. This modern satire explores Asian stereotypes, cop TV shows, and the immigrant experience through a playful mix of formats. Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.


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LPL_IanS Jan 15, 2021

Willis Wu is a struggling actor who dreams of making it big. His greatest aspiration is to become Kung Fu Guy, the peak of Asian male acting, or so he thinks. A unique novel—appropriately formatted as a screenplay—that’s funny while still being full of astute observations about Asian American immigrant experiences.

Jan 13, 2021

On p238-239, older brother's court monologue on "Chinatown" is succinct.
A construction so distinct
that no Korean town, Japan town, nor little Italy could match the imprint.
A performance I love and hate,
wherever I'm linked.
But such a stylization is about to extinct...

Scripted on stereotypes in a novel format,
Content depth felt conventional flat.
Striving immigrant or Kung Fu dad,
life of aging strikes most as sad.
History fade, no rule ironclad,
Wealth made, equality fad.
Interior, a habitat,
Exit, to combat?

Book text in Courier font is eyesore,
the generic men have too little fun to score.

Jan 10, 2021

Like the other 5 star reviews, I didn't know what to expect. What a fine, funny, and thoughtful accounting of when you're a minority in the US and not black. I had my consciousness raised, especially after living in the Bay Area for years where Chinatown was one of those amazing (and charming) places we visited and found great food. That is what Yu is fighting for, I believe, to see why it's there in the first place, the stereotypes (Chinese, black and white), and how to get the message across without piety or the usual heavy-handed tropes. The list of dates at the end - will never forget them and want to know more about Bellingham's role in thank you for your service and now get out of the Chinese.

May 20, 2020

Excellent, innovative story that weirdly and engagingly blends hollywood tropes and fiction to create a moving tribute to the Asian American experience. It was very much worth the read.

debwalker Feb 07, 2020

Dreaming of becoming a Kung Fu star in a racist Hollywood....

Jan 14, 2020

Although it took me a few chapters to understand the shift between second person narration and third person as well as understanding why most of the book was in the form of a movie script, once I understood, it was a very personal way to explore pop culture, racial stereotypes and trying to break free of the role each of us is supposed to play. In this story a young Chinese man strive to do more than work in a Chinese restaurant and play minor roles in TV shows and movies. This was a book that made me think. Its also a book worthy of a second reading to understand the multiple layers of the story being told.


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