"Monkey King" tells the story of a young Chinese-American woman whose mental breakdown and sojourn in a hospital for rehabilitation sets her firmly on the path of memory. For 28-year-old Sally Wang has come to a dead stop in her life, and it is through her recollections of her childhood -- and the stories of her extended Chinese family -- that she manages to find the strength to pull herself back to the land of the living. As we enter Sally's world, we meet a colorful array of characters: her grandmother Nai Nai, the aristocratic matriarch of the family; her parents, who are both marked by their immigrant experience; auntie Mabel and Uncle Richard, who love her like the daughter they never had; and Marty, Sally's beautiful sister, whose tough facade belies the frightened woman inside. Sally's recovery takes place against a rich tapestry of culture and personality that unfolds before our eyes under the ghostly shadow of the "Monkey King." For Sally has been living with a terrible family secret, and it is this burden that shattered her life. How she comes to terms with this betrayal and integrates her Chinese and American parts into a coherent personality are recounted with an honesty that is at once wry and refreshing. "Monkey King" is a stunning and memorable debut from a beautiful new writer."Clearly, Monkey King marks the debut of a gifted stylist with a penetrating eye for detail."
- Paperback | 324 pages
- 132.08 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 249.47g
- 20 Jan 1998
- HARPER PERENNIAL
- Illustrations, black and white
"Clearly, Monkey King marks the debut of a gifted stylist with a penetrating eye for detail."--Los Angeles Times"A considerable achievement, the work of a writer worthy of serious attention."--New York Times Book Review"What makes this a classy first novel is Chao's luminous prose, the evocations of the immigrant experience, and her intelligent sympathy for the frailties of her characters."--Washington Post Book World"With cleanly understated prose and exquisite imagery, Chao skillfully laces past and present, China and America, into a compelling tale of one woman's fight for her life and her identity." --Chicago Tribune"[Sally Wang] is a universal character whose struggle for identity anyone can identify with." --Time"A haunting first novel. . . . A brave and auspicious debut." --San Francisco Chronicle