Eat a Bowl of Tea by Louis Chu: Background information when reading Orphan Bachelors

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Orphan Bachelors

A Memoir

by Fae Myenne Ng

Orphan Bachelors by Fae Myenne Ng X
Orphan Bachelors by Fae Myenne Ng
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  • Published:
    May 2023, 256 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Eat a Bowl of Tea by Louis Chu

This article relates to Orphan Bachelors

Book cover for Eat a Bowl of TeaIn her book Orphan Bachelors, Fae Myenne Ng recalls her life-changing discovery of Louis Chu's "defiant, subversive novel" Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961), now considered a classic of Asian American literature, which depicts Manhattan Chinatown bachelor society in the late 1940s.

The novel begins with two friends living in this milieu, Wang Wah Gay and Lee Gong. They are both technically married men but have been separated from their wives for decades. This is a normal state of affairs due to racist immigration laws that have kept Chinese male laborers from bringing their families to the United States, but the Exclusion Act has been repealed, and it is now possible for a Chinese American man to bring a wife to the country from China. The characters concoct the idea to arrange a marriage between Wah Gay's son, Ben Loy, and Lee Gong's daughter, Mei Oi. Ben Loy, who is currently living in Connecticut, travels to China to meet Mei Oi, and the two immediately fall in love. However, after the ...

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