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Orphan bachelors : a memoir : on being a confession baby, Chinatown daughter, baa-bai sister, caretaker of exotics, literary balloon peddler, and grand historian of a doomed American family / Fae Myenne Ng.

Available copies

  • 0 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 0 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

2 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Detroit Lakes Public Library 921 NG (Text) 33500013793666 New Checked out 06/16/2023

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780802162212
  • ISBN: 0802162215
  • Physical Description: 244 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
  • Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2023.

Content descriptions

Summary, etc.:
"From the bestselling, award-winning author of novels Bone and Steer Toward Rock, Fae Myenne Ng's Orphan Bachelors is a singular memoir of her beloved San Francisco's Chinatown and of a family building a life in a country bent on their exclusion. Beloved by readers for her "incantatory" (New York Times) novels and their luminous depictions of Chinatown, Fae Myenne Ng's new memoir is a personal, timely portrait of the same storied place. In pre-Communist China, Ng's father memorized a book of lies and gained entry to the United States as a stranger's son, evading the Exclusion Act, an immigration law which he believed was meant to extinguish the Chinese American family. During the McCarthy era, he entered the Confession Program only to have his citizenship revoked. Ng was her parents' precocious firstborn. A child raised by a seafaring father and a seamstress mother, by Chinatown and its legendary Orphan Bachelors-men without wives or children, Exclusion's living legacy. Exclusion's shadow followed Ng from the back alleys of Chinatown in the sixties, to Manhattan in the eighties, to the high desert of California in the nineties, until her return home in the 2000s when the deaths of her youngest brother and her father devastated the family. As a child, Ng believed her father's lies; as an adult, she returned to her childhood home to write his truth. Orphan Bachelors weaves together the history of one doomed family; an elegy for brothers estranged and for elders lost; and insights into writing between languages and teaching between generations. In this powerful remembrance, Ng gives voice to her ancestors, her Orphan Bachelors, and her own inner self, howling in Cantonese, impossible to translate but determined to be heard"-- Provided by publisher.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2023 April #1
    *Starred Review* Each of Ng's exquisite books, Bone (1993), Steer toward Rock (2008), now this, is worth the 15-year wait in-between. After two novels (although her sister has said about her fiction, "‘I know where you got everything'"), Ng presents a luminous memoir, finding transformative, aching authenticity in revealing difficult lives. In 1940, Ng's father was one of the infamous Angel Island's final detainees. To circumvent the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which engendered generations of Chinese American "orphan bachelors," Ng's Big Aunt paid $4,000 (today's equivalent, $82,000) for Ng's father to become the paper son of a U.S. citizen. He lost that paper citizenship in 1966 when he entered the Chinese Confession Program; he was legally naturalized in 2001. Exclusion and confession profoundly defined Ng's and her family's identity. As the firstborn to her sailor father and seamstress mother, Ng bore the brunt of responsibility for three younger siblings. Home life was complicated. Deh left for long stretches, leaving Mah overworked, their relationship acrimonious. Ng escaped San Francisco for New York City, but death (of baby brother, father, mother) eventually called her home. Ng pithily encapsulates the decades: "On Being a Confession Baby, Chinatown Daughter, Baa-Bai Sister, Caretaker of Exotics, Literary Balloon Peddler, and Grand Historian of a Doomed American Family." Her exceptional storytelling elucidates and illuminates. Copyright 2023 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

FAE MYENNE NG is the author of bestseller and PEN/Faulkner Fiction finalist Bone and American Book Award winner Steer Toward Rock. Her work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and anthologized in Charlie Chan is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction, Literature Across Cultures, The PEN Short Fiction Project, and The Pushcart Prize. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Guggenheim, the Lannan Foundation, the NEA, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She teaches creative writing and literature in UC Berkeley’s Department of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies.

Subject: Ng, Fae Myenne, 1956-
Chinese American authors > Biography.
Chinese American families > Biography.
Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.) > Biography.
Genre: Biography.

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