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Kathryn Ma 

When: Mon., June 2, 7 p.m. 2014
Three generations of Chinese-American women living in San Francisco contend with family, identity, dislocation, and each other: If that plot summary sounds familiar, it should. And indeed, on the surface, Kathryn Ma’s debut novel has much in common with The Joy Luck Club and the lineage of what might impolitely be called Assimilation Lit that followed it. But just like its protagonist — the unruly Ari, orphaned in China and adopted in the US — The Year She Left Us has a complicated relationship with its ancestry. Ultimately, it’s a winking, wry play on the Joy Luck genre: strong-voiced, self-aware, deeply modern, and utterly original. Ma, a San Franciscan, reads from it this week at a Great Good Place for Books (6120 La Salle Ave., Oakland).
— Ellen Cushing


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