An uproarious debut that lays bare the complicated generational relationships of Chinese American women.
Raucous twin sisters Moonie and Mei Ling Wong are known as the “double happiness” Chinese food delivery girls. Each day they load up a “crappy donkey-van” and deliver Americanized (“bad”) Chinese food to homes throughout their southern California neighborhood. United in their desire to blossom into somebodies, the Wong girls fearlessly assert their intellect and sexuality, even as they come of age under the care of their dominating, cleaver-wielding grandmother from Hong Kong. They transform themselves from food delivery girls into accomplished women, but along the way they wrestle with the influence and continuity of their Chinese heritage.
Marilyn Chin’s prose waxes and wanes between satire and metaphorical lyric, referencing classical Chinese tales and ghost stories that are at turns sensual, lurid, hilarious, shocking, and surreal.
Poet Chin's irreverent first novel follows the bizarre fortunes of a Chinese family helmed by a cleaver-toting grandmother and filled out by her twin granddaughters, Moonie and Mei Ling. The girls have a hard time fitting in, in Southern California, working as delivery girls for their family's restaurant and acting as chauffeurs and translators for Granny and her friends. In chapters that read like short stories, varying in tone from darkly comedic to folktale-like, the twins stumble into adulthood. As a teenager, Mei Ling wakes up to discover her formerly slanted eyes are now round, causing her to feel glamorously Americanized and ashamed at the same time. Elsewhere, Granny asks a friend to pray the twins won't end up dancing at the Pink Pussycat. It turns out to be a valid prayer: Mei Ling relentlessly tries to bed customers, leaving responsible Moonie to keep her on a leash. Eventually, Moonie and Mei Ling graduate from the delivery truck and end up in top-notch medical schools, but even in success, their paths are comically divergent. Chin's provocative take on acculturation, immigrant life and family ties is a unique innovation.