Quote Of The Day: Spring Smells Of Eagerness

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Quote Of The Day #72

This year, my favorite authors will be Dionne Brand and Janet Malcolm. I will try to read these two authors as much as I can until I start to lose interest in them. The problem with these two is that their books are never on sale. You know me–I am a lover of discount and an expert in searching for things on sale. Unfortunately their books are always full priced, even in second hand stores. I really don’t understand this since some of their books are decades old and their popularity should have waned. Or probably their books were not in large number of prints to begin with.

Anyway, if I am desperate, I will go to archive.org to borrow the book, but archive.org has made their online software so impossible to use that it is a torture to leaf through the digital pages.

I am reading “What We All Long For” and there are a lot of interesting quotes. The only issue with this book is that the author doesn’t care about the plot or any dramatic effect. Somehow I guess the author even looks down upon plots or people who love plots. She might think that she doesn’t want to attract that kind of readers. Unfortunately I am one of those readers who are hooked on plots or dramas even if plots can be unrealistic and outlandish.

Still it is a great book with wonderful descriptions of immigrants’ life. There are passage after passage of intimate portrayal of Tuyen, a second generation Vietnamese immigrant and her family, which runs a Vietnamese restaurant in Toronto. I consider these the best description of immigrants I’ve ever found written in English.

“…the carpeting in their spacious house had a path of plastic running over regularly travelled surfaces. And the chairs and couches were not only scotchgarded but covered in protective plastic that made sitting the most uncomfortable act.”

“…but Tuyen complained constantly. She cut things carelessly, she broke glasses, and she left a mess with the dishes. She bawled the customers out if they didn’t use English. Her father put her on the cash register, where at least her passion for numbers and patterns kept her interested. Nevertheless, she was wilful and rude, overcharging and arguing when the restaurant was crowded and everyone feeling rushed.”

Tuyen’s family is newly rich. They have a giant house in Richmond Hill, which is a sprawling suburb outside of the city. It is one of those suburbs where immigrants go to get away from other immigrants, but of course they end up living with all the other immigrants running away from themselves–or at least running away from the self they think is helpless, weak, unsuitable, and always in some kind of trouble. They hate that self that keeps drawing attention, the one that can’t fit in because of color or language, or both, and they think that moving to a suburb will somehow eradicate that person once for all.

Well, I like these descriptions, and I would like it even better if immigrants can be described as normal people who have higher goals in life than trying to mimic somebody else, or attempting to escape the stereotype imposed on them. Immigrants, though often working in more repetitive and less interesting jobs, have their own love, passion, and enjoyment, not just economic concerns or emulation fervor.

I have already written two long stories about immigrants, but they are so badly written that I feel ashamed to let other people read it. This is why I want to read all the books by Dionne Brand this year and then rewrite these two stories.

9 thoughts on “Quote Of The Day: Spring Smells Of Eagerness

  1. I so enjoy this post and the questions it raises, especially this line: “I would like it better if immigrants can be described as normal people who have higher goals in life than trying to mimic somebody else, or escaping the stereotype imposed on them.” How true this is and how I appreciate the way it makes me think of books I have read in new light. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you for your sweet encouragement. I always feel that the joy of life in marginalized people is not represented in the writing as if their only interest is to suffer and to emulate and to complain. Well, complaining can sometimes be a pleasure. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you for your sweet comment. Yes, I wish I have more time to read too, but most of the time I can only listen to audio books while doing something else. I don’t have big chunks of time to read anymore. There are so many things to take care of every day that our reading time is usually sacrificed.

      Liked by 1 person

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