An apprentice sushi chef and a mysterious blue-eyed woman share a bottle of wine inside a climate-controlled otter tank. The Great Wall of China grumbles as workers forego construction to watch an imperial game of baseball. A young woman tries to imagine a future unsullied by her family's history of untimely death.
First issued in 1991, Pangs of Love introduced David Wong Louie's bold storytelling. The son of Chinese immigrants, he centered his stories around characters who are in conflict with their place in the world, disconnected from both American society and their own families. The depth of his portrayals renders their experiences of love, envy, loneliness, loss, and duty universal--informed by their heritage yet not confined by it. These twelve short stories and one essay swerve from the absurd to longing for love, understanding, or simply a morsel of food.
Pangs of Love and Other Writings makes Louie's debut book available again, along with an additional short story and an extraordinary autobiographical essay, "Eat, Memory," in which he reflects on life without food after throat cancer took away his ability to swallow. Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen contributes a foreword elucidating Louie's role in shaping contemporary Asian American literature, while an afterword by literary scholar King-Kok Cheung retraces the three phases of Louie's career.
[Louie] is elegant, funny, a touch spooky, and has as fine a hair-trigger control of alienation and absurdity as any of the best of his generation.
--Los Angeles Times
Louie sneaks up on his readers--his stories crystallize in explosions of pathos and wit.
--San Diego Tribune
These stories are lovely.
--New York Newsday