Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
With her latest book, Chinese American Portraits, Ruthanne Lum McCunn adds to her growing list of publications about the painful struggle and heroic survival of the Chinese in America. In an engaging novelistic style, accompanied by equally eloquent photographs, she tells detailed stories of seventeen diverse men and women, ranging from Yung Wing, educator and patriot, and the first Chinese to graduate from an American university (Yale, class of 1854), to Ho Yuet Fung, writer and filmmaker, who emigrated from Hong Kong in the 1970s. Interspersed within these primary narratives are photographs and lengthy captions telling the stories of other Chinese in America. How the author chose which stories to highlight and which to condense is a mystery, for each story is compelling. On the one hand, the photographs and brief stories interspersed within the pages of longer stories tend to be something of a distraction; on the other hand, in this compromise fashion, many stories beyond the major seventeen get told. The reader cannot help but be impressed by the richness of the author's store as suggested by the large quantity and variety of these small vignettes.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1989