Crime in New York City is falling year on year – which parallels, curiously, the common complaint that the Big Apple is losing its buzz – but there is little chance that racial paranoia will subside. The film director Spike Lee has made a career of this conflict, homing in on race tensions in Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. But with Mona in the Promised Land, her second novel, Chinese-American writer Gish Jen is at once more subtle and more adventurous than Lee, exploring territory beyond the immediate (and predictable) clash of cultures faced by an immigrant Chinese family living in a New York City suburb.
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Though 'the hotel had a reputation as the area’s best, its staff were not used to looking after world leaders, so the arrival of Cuba’s new strongman, Fidel Castro, came as something of a shock.'
@dcsandbrook on @simonhallwriter's 'Ten Days in Harlem'.
'After all, who knows what anybody is really like, or what they really think? The biographer – same as a painter of portraits – cannot help but reproduce himself to some degree.'
From the archive: Beryl Bainbridge talks to Sebastian Shakespeare.
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