The Barbarians are Coming by David Wong Louie

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A stunning depiction of the Chinese-American experience and a deeply affecting novel about fathers and sons from the author of the prizewinning story collection Pangs of Love.

"Louie is elegant, funny, a touch spooky, and he has as fine a hair-trigger control of alienation and absurdity as any of the best of his generation."--Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Sterling Lung grew up in the back of his parent's laundry dreaming about being a real American while speaking Chinese to his mother, English to his friends, and very little to the father he seemed always to disappoint. Now twenty-six and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Sterling cooks French food for the WASP ladies of a private club in Connecticut and conducts an arm's-length affair with an old Swarthmore classmate, a Jewish-American Princess from New Canaan, thereby frustrating his father's dream of a doctor son and his mother's scheme for a Chinese bride. For Sterling's parents, the barbarians are not coming: they are here now.

In a tale that alternates between black comedy and out-and-out slapstick, between the pain of a son alienated from his father and a father an alien in his son's native land, The Barbarians Are Coming reveals the deep psychic wounds each man has suffered even as it ultimately leads to a reconciliation that is as moving as it is necessary. Here is a tale of the immigrant experience--indeed, of the American experience: of the deracination of the second generation and the wrenching losses of the first.

About David Wong Louie

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David Wong Louie is the author of Pangs of Love, winner of the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award and the Ploughshares First Book Award. He lives in Venice, California, and teaches at UCLA.
Published March 6, 2000 by A Marian Wood Book/Putnam. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Romance. Fiction

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The offspring of Chinese immigrants "Zsa Zsa" and "Genius" Lung, he doesn't want to take over the family business (a laundry) or to marry the imported Chinese girl of his parents' dreams.

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Publishers Weekly

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Though they expect him to cleave to his Chinese heritage, his parents chose ""lean lives among the barbarians, so [Sterling] might enjoy penicillin and daily beef and be spared Mao and dreary collectivism, shared destiny, rationed rice, the communal butt-rag at the outhouse door."" Louie's corusc...

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