Celebrate Asian American Heritage Month with us! On Friday, May 12, the Brattleboro Literary Festival’s A Literary Cocktail Hour will present award-winning author Kathryn Ma and her book The Chinese Groove. This event is online and free…you can register at https://bit.ly/LitCocktail30
One of their 12 Books to Read Right Now, the New York Times says of The Chinese Groove: “A comedic take on the trials of immigration, Ma’s latest novel follows a Chinese man who is woefully unprepared for his move to America…” 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 also a recipient of the David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction and has twice been named a San Francisco Public Library Laureate.