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Asian America Now: “Water Ghosts” Book Reading with author Shawna Yang Ryan

August 10, 2010 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

CHSA, in co-sponsorship with Asia Society, presents as part of the Asian America Now series, a book reading of Water Ghosts.

This special program will take place on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 with 5:30 pm Registration & 6-7 pm Program. $5 CHSA, Asia Society & other Co-Sponsor Members; $10 Non-members

WATER GHOSTS is set in the wake of the Immigration Act of 1924, legislation that barred many Chinese women from joining husbands who had immigrated to America in search of work. The absence of women defines life in Locke, a community of bachelors where men outnumber women twenty to one and most of the women are white prostitutes. For this reason, when a boat bearing three mysterious and bedraggled Chinese women arrives one day out of the fog of the Sacramento Delta, suspicion and rumor spread rapidly among the townspeople of Locke.

The women’s appearance is particularly baffling for Richard Fong, the manager of the Lucky Fortune gambling parlor; while two of the women are unknown to him, the third is Ming Wai, the wife he abandoned in China years earlier when he journeyed to America determined to remake himself all the way to the core. The women’s appearance also affects many of the townspeople, particularly the psychic madam of the local brothel, Poppy See. Mad with jealousy and desperate in her love for Richard, Poppy sinks into a depression, haunted by prophetic visions of misfortune for all involved.

When a flood threatens to wash away the entire town of Locke, the frightening power of the strange women will be revealed. In WATER GHOSTS, Shawna Yang Ryan tells a story of a marriage broken by separation and betrayal, a town brought to its knees by loneliness and longing, and what happens when a Chinese ghost story begins to come true.


August 10, 2010
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm