The Jade Peony

The Jade Peony

A Novel

Book - 1997
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Chinatown, Vancouver, of the early 194Os provides the backdrop for this fresh, uplifting, award-winning first novel, told through the reminiscences of the three young children of an immigrant Chinese family. Jook-Liang is the useless girl of the family, who dreams of becoming Shirley Temple and escaping the rigid, old ways of China. Jung-Sum is the adopted middle son who triumphs over loss and prejudice through boxing, and soon finds himself grappling with a bewildering sexual attraction. Lastly, Sekky - the sickly youngest child - surprises the entire family by teaching them how to mourn, and how to go on living. Finally, there are the secrets and magic of two respected elders: Old Wong, The Monkey King, whose past returns to threaten his present and Poh-Poh, or Grandmother, who is the heart and pillar of the family. Side by side, her three grandchildren survive hardships and heartbreaks with grit and humor, discovering a new land without forgetting their common ground.
Publisher: New York : Picador, 1997, c1995.
Edition: 1st Picador USA ed.
ISBN: 9780312155568
Branch Call Number: FICTION Choy Wayson
Characteristics: 238 p. ;,22 cm.


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Sep 27, 2013

This book evolves around the experiences of the lives of 3 Chinese children, Grandmother, 'Stepmother' and Father in Vancouver during the 20's and 30's. It was an enlightening and excellent story - mixed equally with humor, love and Family values. The sequel is also definitely even more engrossing.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

Choy’s first novel reads like a memoir and is a collection of stories about a family living in Vancouver’s Chinatown before and during World War II. Three siblings experience very different childhoods as they grow up amongst the strict structures of a traditional Chinese family struggling with poverty and a rapidly changing world. Sister Jook-Liang is entranced by her hero Shirley Temple, while her adopted brother Jung-Sum struggles with his sexuality and their brother Sekky becomes obsessed with war games. Stepmother is a house servant and concubine who gradually assumes the role of mother but can never achieve full status in the home. The complexity of the extended family is beautifully portrayed by Choy and his descriptions of wartime Vancouver are memorable.

Jun 08, 2012

Excellent novel deals with so many important topics. Not only that, it gives a glimpse into life in Vancouver during the 30s and 40s.

snowspirit1 May 05, 2011

Must read!

Mar 31, 2011

It is a story told from three different perspectives that are all children of a Chinese immigrant family in Vancouver BC before and during WWII and how they are coping with a new culture, language and they fit in whilst their traditional Grandma (Poh Poh) is trying to ensure her grandchildren honour their heritage and culture and not be assimilated to their new country. A short read.

Oct 29, 2010

This book greatly illustrates the poverty and discrimination that the Chinese-Canadians went through during the Depression. Each character longs to be accepted in their own way, but it's all tied together.

The language was a little difficult for me to understand; there's a lot of similies and metaphors, but if you don't struggle with descriptive vocabulary, it's a really good read.

Jul 29, 2010

Great book, really tackles many issues related with identity and what it means to be Chinese-Canadian. The historical backdrop of Vancouver during WWII to really adds to the story but never draws away from the characters themselves.

Jun 26, 2010

One of the 2 finalists in the Canada Reads 2010 competition losing to Nikolski. Authentic-feeling Chinese immigrant experience set in Vancouver during the 2nd world war. I liked it a lot more than Lisa See's Shanghai Girls.

Feb 01, 2010

Lovely, touching, poignant.
Very beautiful book, with interesting structure.

Reminded me of Shanghai Girls. Interesting to compare the two books.

This would make a good winner for Canada Reads 2010, but I'm still hoping for Nikolski to win.

Sep 09, 2008

Book club.

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FavouriteFiction Oct 07, 2009

Three Chinese Canadian siblings tell the story of their very different childhoods in Vancouvers's Chinatown before and during World War II.

Jun 24, 2008

Story of the life of a Chinese immigrant family through the eyes of second brother, third brother and only sister. It follows many aspects of Chinese tradition, such as superstition, while touching upon the war between China and Japan.


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Aug 06, 2008

I die soon!

Aug 05, 2008

I die soon!


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Jun 24, 2008

pie thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over


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