From the massively talented Gish Jen comes a barbed, moving, and stylistically dazzling new novel about the elusive nature of kinship. The Wongs describe themselves as a “half half” family, but the actual fractions are more complicated, given Carnegie’s Chinese heritage, his wife Blondie’s WASP background, and the various ethnic permutations of their adopted and biological children. Into this new American family comes a volatile new member.Her name is Lanlan. She is Carnegie’s Mainland Chinese relative, a tough, surprisingly lovely survivor of the Cultural Revolution, who comes courtesy of Carnegie’s mother’s will. Is Lanlan a very good nanny, a heartless climber, or a posthumous gift from a formidable mother who never stopped wanting her son to marry a nice Chinese girl? Rich in insight, buoyed by humor, The Love Wife is a hugely satisfying work.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Love Wife|
|Release Date: 09-14-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Love Wife|
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The Love Wife
BLONDIE / The day Lan came, you could still say whose family this was-Carnegie's and mine.
We had three children. Two beautiful Asian girls-or should I say Asian American-Wendy, age nine, and Lizzy, age fifteen, both adopted; and one bio boy, Bailey, age thirteen months. Carnegie's ancestry being Chinese, and mine European, Bailey was half half, as they say-or is there another term by now? With less mismatch in it-'half half' having always spoken to me more of socks than of our surprise child, come to warm the lap of our middle years.
Our family was, in any case, an improvisation. The new American family, our neighbor Mitchell once proclaimed, tottering drunk up our deck stairs. But for Carnegie and me, it was simply something we made. Something we chose.
His mother, Mama Wong, thought this unnatural.
The trouble with you people is not enough periods, she liked to say. You can say I think like Chinese, but I tell you. A child should grow up, say this is my mother, period. This is my father, period. Otherwise that family look like not real.
Always good about assigning blame, she blamed the family on me.
I know Blondie. Everything a nut do, she do too. She is not even a real nut, like her friend Gabriela. She is only try-to-be-nut.
To which my friend Gabriela would say: Janie. Your name is Janie, I can't believe you let Mama Wong call you Blondie all these years. And Carnegie too! That is like the definition of low self-esteem.
I tried to tell her that it was my choice-that I liked nicknames. I tried to tell her that she could think of Blondie as my married name, as if I'd changed my first n