Conversations with Gish Jen

Edited by John Zheng
and Biling Chen

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches

9781496819321 Printed casebinding $90.00S

9781496819338 Paper $25.00T

Printed casebinding, $90.00

Paper, $25.00

"I have more of a sense of wanting to open things up for other people. A writer makes a cultural space. And that cultural space can be very helpful."

Conversations with Gish Jen is the first collection of interviews with the renowned contemporary American author Gish Jen (b. 1955), whose acclaimed fiction and nonfiction have fascinated American readers for more than thirty years. The conversations in this book offer first-hand information not only about Jen's authorial intentions, but also about her life as a daughter of Chinese immigrants. Spanning more than two decades, beginning in 1991 and ending with a new, unpublished interview from 2017, these interviews provide readers a sense of Jen's development as a novelist and cultural critic.

Jen's insights into the merits and drawbacks of Eastern and Western cultures, including American individualism and exceptionalism and Asian interdependent mindset and living principles, provide us with keys to understanding the identity struggles of the author herself as well as her fictional characters. The comparative approach Jen adopts in her comments on such topics as education, politics, business, religion, and concepts of creativity and success provokes readers to reflect on their relationships with themselves, with the society in which they live, and with the rest of the world. At the heart of these conversations is Jen's sense of humor, which makes the book a joyful read for both scholars and casual fans of her work.

JOHN ZHENG, Greenwood, Mississippi, is professor of English at Mississippi Valley State University and editor of The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku and African American Haiku: Cultural Visions, both published by University Press of Mississippi. His work has also been published in numerous journals including African American Review, East-West Connections, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, Paideuma, and Southern Quarterly. BILING CHEN, Conway, Arkansas, is associate professor of English and affiliated faculty member of Asian studies at the University of Central Arkansas. Her work has been published in such journals as the Journal of Ethnic American Literature, East-West Connections, the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, and Notes on Modern Irish Literature.

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches