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Conversations with Gish Jen

Conversations with Gish Jen

Edited by John Zheng & Biling Chen
Series: Literary Conversations Series

Paperback : 9781496819338, 188 pages, October 2018
Hardcover : 9781496819321, 188 pages, November 2018

Over two decades worth of interviews with an American author who skillfully addresses the merits and drawbacks of Eastern and Western cultures


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 Spanning more than two decades, beginning in 1991 and ending with a new, unpublished interview from 2017, these interviews provide readers a sense of Jen’s development as a novelist and cultural critic.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.