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  1. Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
      • Home Country:
      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 256

    do u know the name of this novel?

    I've just come across this piece of novel in the Internet but cannot find the name of it. I want to read the rest

    Our parents had known each other in China; we’d even taken
    the same boat to America. However, within five years of our
    arrival in San Francisco, Norman and I had become strangers.
    Line Relatives already established in the city helped Norman’s parents
    (5) assimilate. Within a year, they had not only learned English, but
    had also become real estate moguls. I learned all this from the
    Chinese American gossip machine that constantly tabulated every
    family’s level of success. The machine judged my family lacking.
    My parents ran a grocery store and, unlike Norman’s family,
    (10) gravitated to the immigrant subculture. They never learned
    English, but they respected that I tamed that beast of a
    language. I was my parents’ communication link with the “outside
    My parents denied themselves in order to ensure that I could
    (15) attend Baywood, a top private high school. That was where Norman
    and I crossed paths again. However much my relative mastery of
    English had elevated my status at home, at Baywood I remained a
    shy and brainy outsider. Norman was very popular: he played
    football and was elected class president. He and gorgeous Judy
    (20) Kim were named King and Queen of the Winter Ball; their portrait
    adorned every available bulletin board. I scoffed at the
    celebrity silently. Back then, I did everything silently.
    Compared to Norman, who had already achieved the American teenage
    ideal, I was anonymous. From the sidelines I observed his
    (25) triumphs with barely acknowledged envy.
    In May of our freshman year, Norman approached me after our
    chemistry class.
    “Hey, Angela,” he said as my heart leapt into my throat. “I
    missed class a couple of days ago. Can I copy your notes?”
    (30) “Sure,” I said. I was horrified to find myself blushing.
    We soon became study buddies. It was all business—no small
    talk beyond the necessary niceties. But the hours we piled up
    studying together generated an unspoken mutual respect and an
    unacknowledged intimacy. Judy noticed this and took an increasing
    (35) dislike to me. This relationship continued throughout high
    One day in eleventh grade, without looking up from the math
    problem he was working on, Norman asked: “What schools are you
    applying to?”
    (40) It was the first time he had shown any real personal
    interest in me. “Berkeley, if I’m lucky,” I said.
    “You could probably get in anywhere.”
    “What do you mean?”
    He looked up from his math problem and met my gaze.
    (45) “Berkeley is just across the bay. Don’t you want to
    experience something new for once? I’m applying to schools back
    East,” he said. “You should, too.”
    Not for the first time, an exciting vision of ivy-covered
    walls and perhaps even a new identity swept over me and was
    (50) almost immediately subsumed by a wave of guilt.
    “But what about my parents?”
    “But what about you?”
    Norman had broken a taboo. I launched into a self-righteous
    refutation of the possibility he had dared to voice. I told him
    (55) that even though I wasn’t popular and my family wasn’t as
    successful as his, I at least hadn’t forgotten that it was my
    parents who had brought me here and who had struggled so much for
    me. How could I make them unhappy?
    Norman had expected this outburst. He smiled. “We’re not so
    (60) different, you know. We started out in the same boat. Now we’re
    in the same boat again.” He laughed. “We’ve always been in the
    same boat. Our parents might be kind of different, but they want
    us to succeed and be happy.”
    “You’re so American,” I said in a tone hovering between
    (65) approval and reproach. “You’re not even worried about leaving
    your parents to go to school back East.”
    “That’s not what being American means,” he insisted.
    “Well, what does it mean, then?” I demanded. Surely, I, and
    not this superficial football player who needed my academic help,
    (70) knew what it meant to be American. That very day I had received
    an A on my American History term paper.
    “It means, Angela,” he said gently, “that our parents
    brought us here so we could have the freedom to figure out for
    ourselves what to do with our lives.”
    (75) He smiled at my speechlessness and then returned to his math
    Without looking up from his notebook, he said, “If I can
    decide to go to school back East, so can you.”

  2. Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2010
    • Posts: 32

    Re: do u know the name of this novel?

    Quote Originally Posted by san2612 View Post
    I've just come across this piece of novel in the Internet but cannot find the name of it. I want to read the rest
    Perhaps you've forgotten all about this by now, but I couldn't sleep one night and tried for a long time to find the name of the novel. I couldn't find it either. It does not seem to be available for purchase as a novel. Apparently, excerpts are used in SAT prep materials, so perhaps the publishing rights to the novel have been purchased for that purpose alone. That could mean it will never be released, I'm afraid. However, I did find some writing with a similar voice and setting (and also with characters who are Chinese immigrants to America, as it happens) in a novel excerpt by Gish Jen. I only glanced at it, but perhaps you would enjoy her writing? Meanwhile, when I have read parts of stories and then couldn't find out what happened (I'm a writer and go to conferences where people fill my head with all kinds of unfinished stories), I make up my own story endings so I can stop thinking about them.
    Last edited by MiaCulpa; 25-Dec-2010 at 07:30.


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