Maxine Hong Kingston (1940-)

American writer. Kingston, a first generation Chinese-American, was born in Stockton, California. Her first book, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts (1976), won the National Book Critics Award for General Nonfiction and established her reputation. A mixture of personal history and cultural criticism, it was regarded as innovative because of its mixing of genres. Kingston’s iconoclastic approach to nonfiction bears a resemblance to new journalism, noted for its combination of autobiographical strands and fictional techniques in nonfiction. China Men (1980) explores the impact of Chinese and American cultural inheritances on contemporary men and women. Kingston’s first novel, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989), received generally favorable reviews for its exuberant prose, a blend of comedy and magical realism. The main character, Wittman Ah Sing, is a vehicle through which Kingston explores issues of assimilation and societal and individual change. Clearly an allusion to Walt Whitman, Wittman Ah Sing symbolizes a positive vision of modern acculturation and globalization.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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