Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen by Annie Wang [in Christian Science Monitor]
Let’s face it, the media is great at creating and perpetuating stereotypes. Take Asians: inscrutable and mysterious, sly and calculating, from the shuffling house boy to the prostitute with the heart of gold, from Ming the Merciless to Miss Saigon.
Just how pervasive those stereotypes can be is evidenced in Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen, the English-language debut of Chinese-born writer Annie Wang, who has previously published five works in Chinese. That a writer of Asian descent could perpetuate such portrayals is especially disturbing; clearly, the youthful Wang, who was born in 1972, cut her teeth on Hollywood’s demeaning versions of the inscrutable East.
With a subtitle like “A Novel of Tiananmen,” a reader might expect something on the serious side. But except for a brief mention of Mao’s looming statue in the infamous square, those events leading up to the tragic scene of terror when student revolutionaries demanded change from the stifling government, do not actually play a role in the book until it is almost over. …[click here for more]