Asian American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students

Greenwood. Aug. 2021. 445p. ed. by Keith Lawrence. ISBN 9781440872884. $97. REF
Lawrence (English, Brigham Young Univ.) and the contributors to this encyclopedia have created a helpful guide to Asian American and Asian Canadian literature, starting with the writings of the first Asian immigrants to North America (primarily from China, circa 1850 to the 1880s). The encyclopedia covers novelists, essayists, journalists, and children’s book writers, of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Singaporean, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander descent. Detailed essays on Asian American history, rhetoric and literary criticism, literary themes, literary stereotypes, identities, gender and sexuality, and children’s literature are followed by more than 120 alphabetically arranged entries (each about a thousand words long) on writers including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Cynthia Kadohata, Ken Liu, Celeste Ng, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and SJ Sindu. Each entry includes a biography of the writer, a discussion of their major works and prizes, and a list of further reading.
VERDICT While Greenwood’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature covers more writers, has longer entries, and is more scholarly, this new guide is directed primarily at students (middle school through college) and will be useful to them and to general readers, as well as the teachers and libraries helping them.
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