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All That Matters By Wayson Choy,

  • Title: All That Matters
  • Author: Wayson Choy
  • ISBN: 9780385257596
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Kiam Kim is three years old when he arrives by ship at Gold Mountain with his father and his grandmother, Poh Poh, the Old One It is 1926, and because of famine and civil war in China, they have left their village in Toishan province to become the new family of Third Uncle, a wealthy businessman whose own wife and son are dead The place known as Gold Mountain is VancouveKiam Kim is three years old when he arrives by ship at Gold Mountain with his father and his grandmother, Poh Poh, the Old One It is 1926, and because of famine and civil war in China, they have left their village in Toishan province to become the new family of Third Uncle, a wealthy businessman whose own wife and son are dead The place known as Gold Mountain is Vancouver, Canada, and Third Uncle needs help in his large Chinatown warehouse Canada s 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act forces them, and many others, to use false documents, or ghost papers, to get past the immigration demons and become Third Uncle s Gold Mountain family.This is the beginning of All That Matters, the eagerly anticipated sequel to Wayson Choy s bestselling first novel, The Jade Peony The author takes us once again to the Vancouver of the 1930s and 1940s to follow the lives of the Chen family, this time through the experiences of First Son, Kiam Kim, whose childhood and adolescence in a strict but caring Chinatown family is at once strange and familiar to us.Like many families around them, they must survive in unsavoury surroundings Since the closing down of the railroad work camps, Chinatown is filled with unemployed labourers who live in poor rooming houses Sea winds fill the rooms with acrid smoke from the mills and refineries of False Creek, and freight trains shake their windows at night with noises the Old One says are dragons playing Yet this is a land where the Chen family will not starve where they will be able to keep a girl baby, and not sell her into servitude as was the Old One, whose back is scarred from whippings.In their new life, however, there is a constant struggle to balance the new Gold Mountain ideas with the old traditions and knowledge of China Old One doesn t like Kiam Kim to speak English, and Kiam Kim knows that to be without manners, without a sense of correct social ritual, is to bring dishonour to one s family Children who lose their Chinese brains are called bamboo stumps by the elders because of the hollow emptiness within, so Kiam Kim must study hard at Chinese school as well as English school He must help Poh Poh to cook for her mahjong ladies, and her hard knuckles rap his head when he misbehaves.Although Poh Poh urges him to stick with his own kind and not let non Chinese barbarians into the house, Kiam Kim forges a lasting friendship with Jack O Connor, the Irish boy next door He also has a girlfriend, Jenny, daughter of one of the mahjong ladies who owns a corner grocery shop Meanwhile, China is suffering during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and soon the whole world is at war Boys at school are enlisting, and many Chinese have gone back to fight for the old country Kiam Kim wonders, What world would we fight for Canada is his home, yet he knows that the new country does not want Chinese soldiers.The Jade Peony, was a genuine contribution to history as well as fiction according to author Margaret Drabble It spent 26 weeks on the Globe and Mail bestseller list, shared the 1995 Trillium Award with Margaret Atwood, and won the Vancouver Book Award Blending rich historical detail with powerful personal stories, All That Matters follows Kiam Kim as he learns the responsibilities and rewards of family and community, as he approaches adulthood in a city much divided, and as he faces decisions about what truly matters in life More than anything else, the novel is an exploration of his character I think all stories should arise organically from the characters definitions of the world, says Wayson Choy, who believes that it is in the identification of reader with character that literature exists If you give details that ring trueat s the meaning conveyed by good writing.
    All That Matters Kiam Kim is three years old when he arrives by ship at Gold Mountain with his father and his grandmother Poh Poh the Old One It is and because of famine and civil war in China they have left

    One thought on “All That Matters”

    1. I enjoyed The Jade Peony but I loved this The voice of Kiam feels so authentic and true, and lots of experiences resonate with my own immigrant childhood in the UK I loved the subtext in the early chapters where Kiam is telling of incidents and comments made by his family esp Poh Poh without understanding what is really being said The voice of Kiam matures through the book and suddenly I realised how I d watched Kiam grow up I did find the Kiam Jack Jenny triangle underwritten and the ending did [...]

    2. As somebody who immigrated to Vancouver with his family in 2002, I find this book both touching and humbling The story is set on a different time period, so I haven t expected this However, the obstacles that the protagonist and his family endure are still reminiscent of what I and my family have gone trough during the first decade in Vancouver.However, it is also true that my own experience was far easier than what this book depict I was aided by modern technologies and open minded people Also [...]

    3. Wayson Choy s All That Matters reads like a true story There is so much authenticity to the distinct characters, dialogue and interaction He creates a realistic image of Vancouver s Chinatown in the 30 s and 40 s I felt for his characters and lived through their descriptions He illustrates the culture and customs very well Even though I didn t read The Jade Peony previous to this book, I got a good sense of the characters and their relationships.

    4. The life of an immigrant family in Vancouver s Chinatown Like most immigrants stories it s about the weaving of the old ways into a new life, of hard work and the importance of family and no one tells it like Choy.

    5. Meh The insight into the Canadian Chinese immigrant experience is enjoyable, but the story and characterizations are just kinda meh.

    6. Author of the Jade Peony, this novel is apparently a sequel However, not having read the Jade Peony I can t make any comparisons.It was not necessary to have read the prequel however This story hangs together very well It recounts the lives of the Cheng family who arrive in Vancouver Father, Poo Poo the grandmother, and the child who is the narrator The time period is late twenties to late forties and gives an excellent picture of the culture of Chinatown at least from the perspective of a perso [...]

    7. When I started this book, I first thought, Hey I think I ve read this book This story is really familiar The characters are really familiar I had to look up Wayson Choy and his books.The same stories, the same characters as The Jade Peony, but in the voice and the perspective of the Oldest Son Very clever, and still so very wonderful to read I did finish the book and it was a great way to tie up threads and see another side of the Chen family.

    8. Yay for Wayson Choy What an enjoyable storywhat lives portrayed So many truths Isn t it disgusting that even today humans segregate by vision I wonder if that will ever stop As in reading The Jade Peony, many memories resurfaced of living in the Vancouver area and spending much time in Chinatown still go there everytime go to the coast visiting Thankx Wayson Choy.

    9. Ahhh, what to say about this much anticipated sequel to Choy s The Jade Peony This continuation of the Chen family s struggle in a new world is written in Kiam Kim, the first sons voice as he climbs aboard a ship to sail to Vancouver where he matures and grows to adulthood The beloved grandmother, Poh Poh is ever present in this second novel and still dispensing her tales about ancient myths, omens, ghosts and superstitions Kiam Kim wants to believe in the things his grandmother is telling him a [...]

    10. Pretty fun book, but I can t help but feel just a tad disappointed I think I kind of went into the story expecting so much from the first book I wanted this to expand on the first a little bit than it did Holes in the histories of certain characters were filled in like the lives of the Stepmother and Po Po Other characters were developed that were only given passing mention in the first book, Jack and Jenny Chong are glaring examples At first I didn t like the ending, but I ve made my piece wit [...]

    11. The migrants to Canada have contributed so much to our nation but often were not recognized or accepted into society easily Hopefully we have become better at this as a nation All That Matters illustrates these problems quite vividly.Chinese migrants provided so much labour and rich culture to Canada but were often not accepted into society as full equals All That Matters illustrates this and also the importance of family and family alliances in maintaining the community Life in Canada did impro [...]

    12. It is interesting to me to notice that lately I am reading, not as a generic reader as I have always done, but as a developmental psychologist and especially with my eye on the theme of attachment.This has happened since I have worked up North, and realized the challenge of cross cultural understanding To read about how other cultures mastered successful parenting, and, by contrast, what we have lost in North America is enlightening and sad at the same time What I enjoyed was to notice the impor [...]

    13. I particularly like Asian American literature and even like Asian Canadian literature , perhaps because of my years on the west coast This is a gentle simple picture of the Chinese experience in Vancouver before WW II It is the story of a successful immigration to the Gold Mountain the story of growing up Chinese and the merging the old ways with new ways no one is terrorized or beaten or sold or starved although these events are alluded to It was a bit like my own story of growing up little dis [...]

    14. I really enjoyed this book I have read the Jade Peony but it was a long time ago the characters are thoroughly enjoyable and the setting I found is fascinating I am from Vancouver and enjoyed the look into a different culture I found the writing to be beautiful but not in a cloying way I m not a fan of poetry the characters are all fully developed and perfectly depict the trials and tribulations of growing up Kiam Kim, Jenny, Jack, Sekky etc are wonderful characters.i really enjoyed how the Jack [...]

    15. A Canadian great This is in connection with his previous novel The Jade Peony , and is equally as great A rare gem that has the subtle effect of taking you back to your childhood, as I related to the events experienced by the character Not simply a coming of age story, but an insight into the perceptions of a child as he grows up trying to cope with his inherited dual nationality, insofar as to realize one for himself.Perhaps this can be better related to males who read this book, but as proven [...]

    16. Choy s delicate prose and lyrical approach to his follow up novel to The Jade Peony is gently intoxicating and completely enveloping Over the span of the two books, the four children and the grandmother especially, have grown near and dear to my heart like long time neighbours that I have grown up with This book is an essential Canadian read taking place in Chinatown before and during WWII, and I recommend it especially for anyone interested in immigration studies, and diaspora Although they hav [...]

    17. A heart warming book, very engaging but a little lacking in narrative.I loved Poh Poh, the scenes with her made me remember times with my grandparents, times you never knew were fleeting until it was too late I really enjoyed the Chinese customs with the spirits and seeing ghosts The book mentions the family never let white people in and so it was great to have that peek behind the curtain.I loved the woman mad at her daughter on page 70, Stay here and die, Miss Chong said Dead Girl Useless Girl [...]

    18. This sequel to The Jade Peony was terrific, though it took me about 50 pages to get into it I forgot much of the Jade Peony and may reread it to remind myself of how the other three children s views compare with this one By the time the book ended there was plenty of room left for a third novel, which I hope happens Like the first novel, there is much richness in Chinese customs and belief as well as a variety of characters to get to know, all in the context of Vancouver, British Columbia I almo [...]

    19. As soon as I found out Wayson Choy wrote a sequel to, The Jade Peony, I immediately downloaded it and started reading I was not disappointed.It s not truly a sequel as the events are contemporary with those in, The Jade Peony, but told from the missing point of view that of First Brother, Kiam Kim.Once again, Choy paints an irresistible portrait of Vancouver s Chinatown in the 30s and 40s Ancient tradition, modern troubles, racial tension, and the struggles of immigrants to fit into a new cultur [...]

    20. As coming of age stories go, Wayson Choy has once excelled at allowing one realize the Chinese perspective, even simply the ethnic perspective, of growing up in Vancouver Canada and experiencing the joys of puberty, the trials, the realization of being different than one s white neighbours, but reveling in that unique and important portion of the urbane life of a Canadian city.It s the mosaic of life that Choy draws with his magnificent stylehis writing is spectacular and as real as touching st [...]

    21. Another great novel that explores the Chinese American well in this case North American culture as well as growing up during the great depression in an industrialized town I was disappointed in the ending, feeling like it just drifted off It was a little confusing But the rest of the book I found pleasant intriguing In all the ways they lived their lives, survivors like Poh Poh and Stepmother, Third Uncle and Father, and those elders who hacked their breath away, they were all saying Sail, paddl [...]

    22. I loved this book It is he story of a Chinese immigrant family coming to Vancouver in the 1930 s The family is made up of a father, his young son and his mother or As she is know Poh Poh The story is told in the voice of the son Kiam Kim It follows his growth and adjustment to new ways of life in Canada and the traditions of old China which are so important to his Poh Poh It also gives a vibrant picture of life in Chinatown in Vancouver in those times, or what I imagine it would have been.

    23. 04 13 08 It probably meant to me, being a Chinese Canadian myself, than it would for the average Joe This is one of those books that you read and there really isn t anything huge or exciting about it but you still never want to put it down As I got closer to the end, I found that I was sad that it was the last chapter because I wanted to know , to read about Kiam Kim All in all, a beautiful book.

    24. The story of the Chen family Chinese Immigrants living in Vancouver , which started in the Jade Peony , continues As time passes, Father, stepmother, Poh Poh grandmother and children Kiam, Jung, Liang and Selky continue to face the pressures of trying to become Canadian and at the same time retain their Chinese culture.The pressures leading up to and surrounding WW2 are also explored.A Giller Prize Finalist and a 2004 Trillium Book award winner.A great read.

    25. It took me a few pages to get used to the style of writing but then thought This is beautifully written A very interesting tale of a chinese immigrant family coming to Vancouver s chinatown and their story in the years before and during World War II The struggle of old vs new culture is vividly portrayed through the characters Poh Poh and Kiam Kim I was kind of disappointed in the ending though, it seemed to just drift off.

    26. This is the second of Choy s books I have read He describes Vancouver s Chinatown in the early 20th century from the inside Readers come to understand the pressures on individuals both within the community and from the outside Throughout, however, the reader connects with the characters and relates to the humanity we all share and the universal themes of love, belonging, family, and courage.

    27. The sequel to The Jade Peony is told through the eyes of the first son, Kiam Kim The same struggles are recounted but from a different perspective Kiam is the oldest son and the honor of the family rests on his shoulders as well as setting the irreproachable example for his siblings The story also details his everlasting friendship with Jack O Conner.

    28. Wayson Choy writes the characters dialogues in both Chinese and English, but they do not disrupt the flow of the story at all I enjoyed the smooth transition of Kiam Kim s POV and tone from when he was about five to 18.It s a great coming of age story and portrays the Chinese Canadian culture very well.

    29. Another 5 star book This is a beatiful book, written in a nice pace except towards the end when I found it impossible to put down I highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction this one will transport you to the family life of a young Chinese Canadian dealing with the challenge of having strong roots in the homeland while slowly becoming and Canadian Worth the 5 star.s

    30. A novel so rich and so powerful that it could serve as a text book for any university course on the history of the Chinese in Canada A tale made poignant by the trials and tribulations of young boy coming of age in a society that tried desperately to repress him at every turn Poh poh is such a beautiful character and will remind you of your own grandmother A beautiful read

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