The Bukowski Agency - All That Matters

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423 pages hardcover
Finished books available

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US: Other Press, Feb 2007
Canada: Doubleday, Oct 2004
New Zealand & Australia: Penguin, May 2005
French-Canadian: Editions XYZ

ABOUT WAYSON CHOY

Wayson Choy (Photo: Robert Mills)
(Photo: Robert Mills)

Wayson Choy’s first novel, The Jade Peony, spent 26 weeks on The Globe and Mail’s bestseller list and placed number six on its 1996 Year-End National Bestseller List for fiction. He shared the Trillium Award that year with Margaret Atwood and won the Vancouver Book Award. His bestselling memoir, Paper Shadows, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and won the Edna Stabler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. He was also recently appointed to the Order of Canada by former Governal General, Adrienne Clarkson. Wayson Choy lives in Toronto.

All That Matters

a novel by Wayson Choy

GROWING UP IN VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN DURING THE 30s AND 40s, KIAM CHEN IS CAUGHT IN A TANGLE OF MIXED LOYALTIES. AS FIRST SON, HE IS TRAPPED BETWEEN THE OLD CHINA WAYS AND A WORLD THAT IS RAPIDLY CHANGING

  • Winner of the 2004 Trillium prize
  • Shortlisted for the 2004 Giller Prize
  • Longlisted for the 2006 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

All That Matters coverSet in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, Choy continues the story of the Chen family, first introduced to readers in The Jade Peony, this time narrated by First Son, Kiam-Kim. We meet Kiam-Kim at the age of eight, staring at the yellowed photograph of his mother, who died in China when he was just a baby. Kiam-Kim, Poh-Poh (his larger-than-life grandmother) and Mr. Chen, his demure and honest father, journey to a new life in Vancouver’s Old Chinatown. Following the dream of finding gold and then one day returning to China – wealthy – they, like many of the Chinese families around them, find themselves caught in a country on the brink of the Second World War, struggling to survive in a foreign land and keep alive the traditions of an older world.

Finely-crafted and rich in historical detail, All That Matters depicts 1930s Vancouver in the haunting hues of memory, and sees in the Chen family a fragile miniature of a larger world. Dwelling on Kiam-Kim’s sense of responsibility to his community, Choy unfolds the Chen family’s secrets in thoughtful and luminous prose, leading the reader to a breathtaking conclusion that far transcends the limits of its time and place, and gestures towards all humanity.

PRAISE FOR ALL THAT MATTERS

“Choy's graceful writing seems to conjure up the very spirit of a quiet child who notices all … a master storyteller … ”  — THE SEATTLE TIMES

“[A] lovingly detailed novel.... Choy's novel captures the spirit in which exile turns into assimilation.”  — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“The story is richly told and liberally sprinkled with defined Cantonese phrases in the Sze Yup dialect.”  — LIBRARY JOURNAL

All That Matters is a quiet and moving book. On the surface, the gentle narrative voice seems to belie the weight and power of the story, but as we read along, the energy accumulates and the momentum accelerates. The novel shows convincingly what is fundamental in humanity, and it also shows the author's firm belief in human decency. It is a genuine story of the Chens, a family that embodies the real immigrants, the 'wretched refuse' tossed on the American continent. I greatly admire Wayson Choy's craftsmanship demonstrated in this book, particularly his way of blending the personal with the historical, his patience and his restrained, subtle prose. Above all, his understanding, compassion, and wisdom. This is one of the best novels of the Asian American experience.”  — HA JIN, author of War Trash

“What a pleasure to read Wayson Choy again.... The language, the rhythms and the images are so seductive and often so exquisite...a thing of sheer beauty.... In delicate balance, Choy holds the ghosts of the past and the resolve to survive in the present, two countries, two cultures, two worlds.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“A new book from Choy is an event. His writing has a quiet integrity and an exquisite grace that can electrify readers...Choy's handling of childhood memory is dazzling.... All That Matters is a beautiful novel.”  — MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE

“A magnificent novel...accomplished, heartfelt and true...a meditation on memory, love, family and forgiveness—and aren't they all that matter?”  — TORONTO STAR

“In some ways, that is Choy's ultimate gift: to be able to employ words like ghosts, curses, blessings and omens and have even the most analytical of heads nod with understanding. Gold Mountain, the Vancouver of the 1930s that Choy has created, is where the historical meets the mystical . . . Choy sustains the balance even as he touches on heavier issues – war, cultural divisions, a mixed-race love triangle. And life, he seems to tell us, isn't so hard to figure out.”  — TIME MAGAZINE (CANADA)

“…Choy laces the characters' lives into the fascinating historical background of Vancouver's Chinatown.”  — THE OREGONIAN

 

 

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