A performance that brings Black stories to white-dominated spaces
Our August book club pick: ‘The Woman Warrior,’ by Maxine Hong Kingston
We’re excited to do something a little different for our August pick for “Now Read This,” our book club in partnership with The New York Times. Given that many of us return to a beloved older book or classic in the summer months, we decided to ask one of today’s top writers to choose a book she loves and keeps returning to, and recommend it for us all to read.
We asked Celeste Ng, author of the best-selling novels “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Everything I Never Told You,” and a regular champion of other writers online and off. And her pick for our August read is…
Maxine Hong Kingston’s lauded 1976 memoir “The Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts.”
The memoir, which blends autobiography and folktale, dips back and forth in time between the past of Kingston’s ancestors in pre-Mao China, to her growing up Chinese-American in modern-day California, to the fantasy of an imagined life as a female avenger. As cultural critic John Leonard wrote in the New York Times’ 1976 review, the result is a book that is “fierce intelligence, all sinew, prowling among the emotions.”
The New York Times recently named “The Woman Warrior” as one of the 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years.
“This book is more than four decades old, but I can’t think of another memoir quite like it that has been published since,” New York Times book critic Jennifer Szalai wrote. “True stories, ghost stories, ‘talk stories’ — Maxine Hong Kingston whirs them all together to produce something wild and astonishing that still asserts itself with a ruthless precision.”
At the end of the month, Celeste Ng will join us on the PBS NewsHour to answer questions about the book. We hope you’ll join us and read along.