A Long Stay in a Distant Land: A Novel

By Chieh Chieng
Read by James Yaegashi

6.71 Hours 04/01/2005 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9781455181810

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In this funny and inventive novel, the Lums are a death-stalked Chinese American family living in Orange County, California. Ever since Grandpa Melvin was inspired to join the US Army after watching a Popeye movie and—as family lore has it—unleashed a “relentless rain of steel death” upon the Nazis, Lum after Lum has been doomed to an untimely demise, be it by tainted cheeseburger or speeding ice-cream truck. Now young Louis must move back home with his father, Sonny, to prevent him from enacting the revenge he promises. But soon Louis finds himself searching for his long-lost uncle Bo Lum in Hong Kong. As Louis’ search progresses, the tragicomic story of three generations of Lums in America is revealed through the eyes of Louis, Sonny, and Grandma Esther.

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Summary

Summary

In this funny and inventive novel, the Lums are a death-stalked Chinese American family living in Orange County, California. Ever since Grandpa Melvin was inspired to join the US Army after watching a Popeye movie and—as family lore has it—unleashed a “relentless rain of steel death” upon the Nazis, Lum after Lum has been doomed to an untimely demise, be it by tainted cheeseburger or speeding ice-cream truck. Now young Louis must move back home with his father, Sonny, to prevent him from enacting the revenge he promises. But soon Louis finds himself searching for his long-lost uncle Bo Lum in Hong Kong. As Louis’ search progresses, the tragicomic story of three generations of Lums in America is revealed through the eyes of Louis, Sonny, and Grandma Esther.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“[A] whimsical debut…Treat[s] readers to delectable nibbles of zany family lore and conjectural genealogies stretching back centuries. Charmingly eccentric and refreshingly unstereotypical.” Publishers Weekly
“Narrator James Yaegashi lovingly renders this story in an understated tone that fits the novel. His methodical pace and easy style nudge the action along and keep the book interesting.” AudioFile
“[A] dazzling debut: poignant, prickly, and deliciously absurd.” Booklist
“At once charming, bittersweet, and hilarious…The story, which moves back and forth in time, reveals many universal truths and is easy to follow and enjoyable…Yaegashi brilliantly captures each somewhat eccentric character…he also excels at comic understatement. Large ethnic and particularly Chinese community libraries should add this outstanding work.” Library Journal
“Chieh Chieng has clear sight and a distinctive voice, a devastating deadpan wit animated by a lively sense of what is absurd in the transitional culture he explores and in the tighter and eternal culture of family. But Mr. Chieng never forgets that the human comedy matters gravely, that the final joke is on everybody, and that it’s not funny.” Geoffrey Wolff, author of Duke of Deception
“For me, Chieh Chieng’s subtle wit, his clear-eyed and economical prose, and his sense of irony bring to mind most readily the work of one of my favorite filmmakers—Jim Jarmusch. And in A Long Stay in a Distant Land, Chieng has written a thoroughly enjoyable and consistently inventive first novel.” Adam Langer, author of Crossing California
“This is a whimsical, poignant book that explores the country of family as the true immigrant experience. Chieng takes us on this entertaining journey from many different points of view, some obsessive, some murderous, some wry and sarcastic, but each leading to the same destination: our place—whether we like it or not—in our immutable lineage.” Diana Wagman, author of Bump
“Reminiscent of the early work of V. S. Naipaul and Sherman Alexie, Chieh Chieng’s unique voice balances a mordant humor with genuine tenderness. In weaving a tapestry of one Chinese-American family’s epic struggle to assimilate in the US, Chieng delights in his wonderfully eccentric characters, and ultimately casts light on the universal American need: that to discover where we are headed, and where we belong, we must first understand where it is we come from.” Robert Rosenberg, author of This Is Not Civilization
“With both irreverence and compassion, Chieh creates a hilarious, fast-paced narrative that never undermines his respect for his offbeat, big-hearted characters.” Aimee Phan, author of We Should Never Meet
“Real tragedies as well as genuine emotions are conveyed with humor, but also with understanding and compassion…These characters are Asian American, but most listeners who are close to their own grandparents will recognize them as part of their American family.” Kliatt 

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Chieh Chieng

Chieh Chieng was born in Hong Kong and moved to Orange County, California, at the age of seven. He graduated from the creative writing program at the University of California, Irvine, and has been published in several literary magazines.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 6.71
Audience: Adult
Language: English