Chinese American, born and raised in Boston, live and work in New York. I like thick-skinned dumplings, flip flops, baseball, and sour gummy worms. I write about things, sometimes snarkily. I review things, sometimes with opinions. And I do the Twitter thing @lilyvwong
Not Your Villain is the page turning sequel to CB Lee’s delightful Not Your Sidekick. Villain picks up probably midstream with Sidekick, eventually merging plot lines. It follows shapeshifter Bells Broussard, best friends with Sidekick‘s Jess Tran, on his official, but secret, journey to becoming a HERO! But along the way, he and his friends realize that things may not be as they seem. Unearthing a massive cover-up turns Bells into the country’s most wanted villain… A heartwarming bunch of friends, a […] Continue »
Panorama is a world premiere play from Italian duo Motus showing at La MaMa (66 East 4th Street) as part of The Public’s Under the Radar Festival until January 21. Though the description for the show is a bit dense–“proposing a post-nationalistic identity for all the populations of the world, focusing on the concept of fluid identity and nomad identity”–the play itself is actually an intimate look at the lives of the artists who make up […] Continue »
Once on This Island, now playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre (W. 50th), is an utter delight. Your heart will swell and weep and swell again before the night’s over. The musical, set on a Caribbean island, follows Ti Moune, a young girl who’s fallen in love with someone from the other side of the island. Kept apart by class and culture, Ti Moune is guided by the gods on a remarkable journey. […] Continue »
Maggie Shen King’s debut novel An Excess Male is a thrilling ride through a dystopia future where there is many more than one excess male. Some time in the not so distant future, China has so many men, that families include multiple husbands–husbands who must compete in an ultra-competitive, dowry-driven market to ever get married at all. The novel follows four main characters, shifting perspectives with each chapter. The first is Wei-guo, a bachelor who has […] Continue »
Stolen Oranges, a new novel by Max Yeh, is a whirlwind of a historical tale, recounting a series of letters written between Miguel Cervantes (of Don Quixote fame) and a Ming emperor as told by their discoverer–a Chinese American historian. I was first drawn to this novel by the back cover description: “this dazzling meditation on the intricacies of memory, language, and time.” And when it showed up at my doorstep, by the small size […] Continue »
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani is a delightful graphic novel about a young girl looking for herself, navigating two worlds and two cultures. Priyanka is your average Indian American teenager until she finds a magic pashmina in her mother’s closet. Her mother won’t ask questions about the India she left behind or about Priyanka’s father, but the pashmina opens a new window. The story follows Priyanka’s eventual journey to India and back again, all along insightfully […] Continue »
My First Book of Vietnamese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book of Vietnamese Language and Culture, the latest addition to Tuttle’s My First Book of [fill in blank] Words series came out recently. It is written by Tran Thi Minh Phuoc, and artfully illustrated by Nguyen Thi Hop and Nguyen Dong. The book guides visitors through the English alphabet with short rhymes and some contextual information: C is for Cu. The owl flies at night, but when […] Continue »
September 21 is International Peace Day, what more fitting a day than to talk about origami cranes–or at least a book on cranes. Origami Peace Cranes: Friendships Take Flight by Sue DiCicco is a children’s book about friendship and making connections despite differences. Emma–pictured center on the cover–is nervous about going to a new school and thinks no one will want to be her friend. That is of course until her teacher invites them to all […] Continue »
Lisa Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, follows a mother and son separated by immigration agents, borders, and new families. Deming Guo wakes up one day in the Bronx to find that his mother Polly has disappeared. Soon, he is Daniel Wilkinson of upstate New York. We follow Daniel as he struggles through high school, the emotional turmoil of his mom’s abrupt departure, makes a friend who isn’t white, makes a friend who was adopted from China […] Continue »
Vanessa Hua’s debut collection of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilities, guides readers through a “deceit” to provide a compelling portrait of human nature. The spotlight falls on a range of individuals, a Hong Kong celebrity, a Korean American pastor, a Mexican American learning an unorthodox trade from his father. Not about spies nor lies precisely, each story is a portrait of a life — choices that unravel to reveal who we are against who we want […] Continue »
The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artists and Wartime Witness brings Fujii’s art to a broader audience with the stunning pages from a diary he kept while incarcerated during World War II. Written by Barbara Johns and with an introduction by the artist’s grandson Sandy Kita, this book offers a historical, art historical, and also deeply personal insight on to Takuichi Fujii. The first half delves into Fujii’s biography, providing an overview of his […] Continue »
Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn is the riveting sequel to Heroine Complex, starring not just one, but two badass Asian American superheroines. You may or may not recall that I loved Heroine Complex when it came out last summer. The first book in this series followed Evie Tanaka as she morphed from sidekick to full blown superhero with fire throwing powers. Throw in a budding romance thrown in and an at times testy relationship with her best friend, […] Continue »
Philip Sieve: Yeah. We're just curious. We could also ask this of even some Russians, some black people, some American Indians, old white people with dropping skin... – Do Asians Have Peripheral Vision?
Kiwi: *WHOOSH!* You didn't get it the first several times and you certainly won't get it the next 20 times, but I'll say it again: culture... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
Lucius Clarus: You spread more squid ink and never address the obvious fact in the room -- different races clearly have different abilities and temperaments. You avoided... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
Kiwi: *WHOOSH!* By this point, my point is in another multiverse. Japan and the Asian tiger economies are preferable to Eastern Europe by all measures. But... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
Sad Clown: So what? The Mongols kicked Europe's ass. So what? "Beside the point"? What is even your point? Europeans are smarter than Chinese because they beat... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
Lucius Clarus: Beside the point. The outcome was as if they never created gunpowder weapons. The Euros kicked their arses. – Are Asians the Smartest Race?