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The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother
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The Eighth Promise is a memoir of the relationship between a mother and son--and of the Chinese American immigrant experience. The stories unfold simultaneously in a Chinese farming village during World War II while under attack by the Japanese Imperial Army and in America in the housing projects of San Francisco's Chinatown during the Civil Rights era, Vietnam War, and the countercultural 1960s and 1970s. Born in the heart of San FranciscoŠs Chinatown, author William Poy Lee begins his life with fractured identities: On one hand, he is American and has never seen China, and on the other, many Americans consider him an outsider. Only through living by his mother's eight promises, uttered years ago before she left China, is he able to achieve a sense of balance and survive the Jim Crow segregation rampant in the San Francisco of his youth. When violence erupts in Chinatown in a series of slayings and William's brother is wrongfully convicted of murder, William must remember the Eighth Promise in order to do what is right. Told in two voices--the author's and that of his mother--this book is a tale of violence, fortitude, survival, and triumph.
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