|The Bitter Sea is a volume of fourteen stories that
portrays Chinese immigrants in a vivid tapestry to present their
harsh, relentless lives despite the dreams that have initially
led them across the choppy Pacific Ocean.
While “At Chicago Chopsuey Restaurant” and “Modern
Comedy” describe the psychological pressure immigrants
are under, “The Family Tree” shows how a family
in Toronto goes out its way to carry on the family tree. “The
Red Tulip” is about a student yearning for company,
and “C’est la Vie” tells of how a woman
from Hong Kong survives in Canada and how the narrator, a
fengshui master, holds on to Chinese values. “Stewed
Pork and Pickled Cabbage” is about a Chinese brought
to Canada against his will, while “In the Venus Theater”
sketches a Chinese delegation secretly viewing pornographic
movies in Vancouver. Finally, “The Bitter Sea Knows
No Bounds” depicts a professor suffering in America
but toughing it in order to have a better tomorrow. Incidentally,
three of the stories are set in China, offering glimpses of
lives from the old country in the sixties and seventies.
With Chinese immigrants playing a growing role in North America,
this book of short fiction will serve to inform its readers
of their endeavors, values, sentiments, and hopes, in addition
to providing an entertaining read.