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Rough day at work, but I finished reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri while waiting in Dupont Circle metro station. I enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies, and enjoyed this one too. Although obviously immigrants from India and the Philippines are different, the common elements were still striking: well-educated parents speaking accented English; the "public" name and the "private" name; the long, disconcerting trips to the home country; the parents speaking in the mother language and the kids responding in English; heavy aromatic food; taking shoes off and wearing flip-flops in the house; pressure for good schools and "solid" professions; general teenage embarrassment complicated by shame and remorse from being different; inter-racial dating; the large, loud, substitute extended family; parents feeling that life in America is temporary and planning for retirement in the home country; I could go on.

There is some contemporary Fil-Am literature in the same genre. Off the top of my head I think of Her Wild American Self by M. Evelina Galang. Or maybe the film The Debut. Maybe I'll write up my own story. Some day.
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On December 13th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC), wendye commented:
I used to love Hyphenated-American fiction, and you've inspired me to put Her Wild American Self and The Namesake on my library hold.
Thanks!
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On December 14th, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Do you have any suggestions?
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On December 14th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC), wendye replied:

Our House in the Last World by Oscar Hijuelos. I like all of his books, but this one is more about immigrant children.

The Aguero Sisters by Cristina Garcia. Actually, I like all of her books too, I just read The Handbook to Luck
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On December 14th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Thanks! I read Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and liked it a lot. I haven't read anything by Cristina Garcia so I'll definitely check her out.
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On December 14th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC), wendye replied:
I was IN the movie The Mambo Kings!
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On December 14th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
!!!

Tell more!
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On December 14th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC), wendye replied:
I was just an extra. I'll post screen caps when I get around to it!
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On December 14th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC), hatter_anon commented:
There's some great 'identity literature' in Australia. One of my favourite books as a teenager was 'Looking for Alibrandi' the fictional story of a young woman dealing with her family heritage and history through three generations of Italian-Australian women. Another favourite is a true story that was published recently, 'Unpolished Gem' http://www.theage.com.au/news/book-reviews/unpolished-gem/2006/09/01/1156817080625.html
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On December 14th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Thanks! I'm glad books like this exist in Oz, especially as immigration is relatively recent compared to North America.
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