Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop and Rivepaper Magazine,
Henry Chow and other stories from the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop
Tradewind Books, 2010.
This slim volume of short stories written by Asian Canadian writers for teenagers is particularly uneven in its offerings. Some of the stories show the promise of these largely emerging writers, while others simply let the reader down. The title story, Henry Chow is an excellent example of a story that begins with a bang and ends with a confusing whimper. Thematically what pulls all the stories together is that they all feature Asian - Canadian characters coping with life as it is today, and what is more refreshing is that the stories are not specifically about clash of cultures or the prevalence of racism. By and large, though, they are not stories that stick.
Stronger stories do come from more established authors such as Paul Yee, and there is certainly strong potential among some of the other selections.
Although Henry Chow could easily slide into any collection supporting the Asian or immigrant experience in Canada, it is likely to be a secondary choice for school libraries dependent on budgetary considerations.
Thematic Links: New Canadians; Immigration
Vol. 15, number 4
E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
G - Good, even great at times, generally useful!
A - Average, all right, has its applications.
P - Problematic, puzzling, poorly presented.