The Fifth Book of Peace
Maxine Hong KingstonISBN: 0679440755;
The Fifth Book of Peace opens as Maxine Hong Kingston, driving home from her father’s funeral in the early 1990s, discovers that her neighborhood in the Oakland-Berkeley hills is engulfed in flames. Her home burns to the ground, and with it, all her earthly possessions, including her novel-in-progress. Kingston, who at the time was deeply disturbed by the Persian Gulf War, decides that she must understand her own loss of all she possessed as a kind of shadow-experience of war: a lesson about what it would be like to experience up close its utter devastation. Thus she embarks on a mission to re-create her novel from scratch, to rebuild her life, and to reach out to veterans of war and share with them her views as a lover of peace. In the middle section of this remarkable book, Kingston reconstructs for us her lost novel, the lush and compelling story of the Chinese-American Wittman Ah Sing and his wife, Tana–California artists who flee to Hawaii to evade...
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