3:00 - 4:30
Award-winning author Kathryn Ma discusses her new book, The Chinese Groove, in conversation with Julia Flynn Siler, the author of The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown.
The Chinese Groove is a buoyant, good-hearted, and sharply written novel about a blithely optimistic immigrant with big dreams, dire prospects, and a fractured extended family in need of his help—even if they don’t know it yet.
Eighteen-year-old Shelley, born into a much-despised branch of the Zheng family in Yunnan Province and living in the shadow of his widowed father’s grief, dreams of bigger things. Buoyed by an exuberant heart and his cousin Deng’s tall tales about the United States, Shelley heads to San Francisco to claim his destiny, confident that any hurdles will be easily overcome by the awesome powers of the “Chinese groove,” a belief in the unspoken bonds between countrymen that transcend time and borders. Upon arrival, Shelley is dismayed to find that his “rich uncle” is in fact his unemployed second cousin once removed and that the grand guest room he’d envisioned is but a scratchy sofa. The indefinite stay he’d planned for? That has a firm two-week expiration date. Even worse, the loving family he hoped would embrace him is in shambles, shattered by a senseless tragedy that has cleaved the family in two. They want nothing to do with this youthful bounder who’s barged into their lives. Ever the optimist, Shelley concocts a plan to resuscitate his American dream by insinuating himself into the family. And, who knows, maybe he’ll even manage to bring them back together in the process.
Kathryn Ma is the author of the widely praised novel The Year She Left Us, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR “Great Read” of the year. Her short story collection, All That Work and Still No Boys, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award and was named a San Francisco Chronicle “Notable Book” and a Los Angeles Times “Discoveries Book.” She is a recipient of the David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction and has twice been named a San Francisco Public Library Laureate. Her new novel, The Chinese Groove, has received high praise from the New York Times, Booklist, Oprah Daily, People Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others, and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick by the American Booksellers Association.
Julia Flynn Siler is an award-winning author and journalist. Her most recent book, The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown, was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and a finalist for a California Book Award. She is also the author of the bestselling nonfiction books, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure and The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. As a veteran correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek magazine, Siler spent more than two decades in Europe and the United States, reporting from a dozen countries. She has covered fields as varied as biotechnology, cult wines, puppy breeding, and a princess’s quest to restore a Hawaiian palace’s lost treasures.
Book sale following the program by Folio Books.
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Weaving Stories: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Interest
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Weaving Stories is the Library's celebration of the many diverse histories and cultures from Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.