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The Barbarians are Coming by David Wong Louie
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The Barbarians are Coming

Best Seller
The Barbarians are Coming by David Wong Louie
Paperback $24.00
Mar 01, 2001 | ISBN 9780425178287

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  • Mar 01, 2001 | ISBN 9780425178287

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“If The Barbarians Are Coming weren’t so funny, it would kill you.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“An ambitious and appealing first novel, brilliant in its scathing insights…It is 1978, and 26-year-old Sterling, the bright American-born son of Chinese parents, has already disappointed his parents by choosing the Culinary Institute of America rather than medical school, and he’s about to disappoint everyone else as well. His casual girlfriend Bliss wants more from their relationship; his parents want him to marry the Chinese picture-bride they have chosen for him; and his employers, the Waspy women of the Richfield Ladies’ Club, want him to cook Chinese food, though his specialty is French cuisine…At the heart of Sterling’s failings is his troubled and distant relationship with his ailing father, Genius, who is devoted to the Chinese laundry he runs. Louie dazzlingly captures the bitter ironies of Asian-American life, but it is the scenes between father and son and, eventually, the scenes between Sterling and his sons, that expose the most complex realities of Chinese-American identity.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Louie ranks with the best of a new generation of American novelists. And when it comes to Asian-American themes, he’s as funny as Gish Jen [and] as eloquent as Chang-rae Lee…His first novel is truly memorable.”—Newsday

“A story about cooking and loving, often as sensual as Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, but also as bitingly funny as Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity…an intoxicating, heady trip, a feast of a novel.”—Seattle Weekly

“One of the most moving father-son stories in decades…a knowing, witty take on the immigrant experience.”—*Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Barbarians Are Coming begins in farce, proceeds to elusively edgy, laugh-so-you-don’t-cry comedy and concludes in heart-wrenching drama. Though a first-time novelist, Louie has directed it all with a master’s deft hand…Sterling is a brightly lit figure, part aspiring Horatio Alger, part pathetic Woody Allen, part creative James Beard.”—Newsday

“This is humor in the Swiftian sense: piercing and satirical and delivering something far larger than comedy for its own sake…David Wong Louie’s story [is] as generously, utterly, American as it is eloquently precise.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“A novel of wit, insight, and power.”—Elle

“Sterling’s interactions with his primarily Chinese-speaking parents, Genius and Zsa Zsa, are often hilarious.”—Book

“Full of astonishing writing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Taut, witty prose.”—Seattle Weekly

“David Wong Louie whips up a kind of reverse feast in his masterful first novel, The Barbarians Are Coming, beginning with a frothy comic dessert and egging us on to the main course, a heartbreaking tragedy about fathers and sons, dashed hopes and missed opportunities for love…a mature, richly characterized family saga whose universal themes take it far beyond the category of ethnic fiction.”—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“As grandly comic as an American carnival and as tragic as any Chinese opera.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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