Mar 25, 2023

Sunday Salon: A Mystery and a Memoir

 Just read: 



Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Published March 7, 2023; William Morrow & Company
Genre: mystery thriller, fiction, Asia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The experiences of three Filipina domestic workers in Singapore in this novel are quite different. 

Corazon works for a wealthy woman who treats her as a family member; Donita is abused physically and mentally by an overly demanding and insulting woman who aspires to rise in society; Angel likes her job as caretaker for a disabled man but is shunted aside when a nurse is hired in her place.

The novel was an eye opener on the varied conditions of Filipina domestic workers abroad, in this case in Singapore. The book is made even more interesting when the three workers get together to clear the name of one of their friends in the murder of her female employer.

Revealing and informative as social commentary, and entertaining as a mystery novel, the book is interesting and important on many levels.



Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City
by Jane Wong
Publication: May 16, 2023; Tin House Books
Genre: memoir, nonfiction, Asian American literature

I liked the poetic prose that Jane Wong, a poet and creative writer, uses for much of this memoir. She has a poet's acute and perceptive reaction to her life experiences. 
 
I think of the book as a very personal memoir of her despair and agonies in growing up among those who don't understand or accept her - in school, university, in Atlantic City, where her parents ran a restaurant until her father deserted the family. Of having to field stereotyping, microaggressions, outright hostility, and more.

Her mother is the force that bolsters her as she goes through one heartbreak after another in her life and in her failed relationships with boyfriends. The author does not dwell as much on her rise as a poet and on her academic career as an associate professor of creative writing. But I recall betrayals on her road to that position as well.

In this very honest memoir, the heartache comes through, as does her remarkably resilient self, and her mother who sees Jane through all her responses of dejection and grief.

I was heartened to see that the author is a successful poet, writer, and teacher because of or in spite of all she went through.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted byThe Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

58 comments:

  1. So many Asian authors are writing wonderful books that incorporate their special experiences, family dynamics, and international consciousness… I have also enjoyed several of these books recently.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm enjoying and being enlightened by several of their memoirs too!

      Delete
  2. I can see where Now You See Us would be a real eye opener!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've read about domestic workers in the news but never as a novel written by someone who would know about it from living in one of those countries.

      Delete
  3. Both of these books have lovely covers. I think I would especially enjoy Now You See Us, both for the subject matter and the mystery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both are good in different ways. Superb writing.

      Delete
  4. Both look fantastic but I'm especially interested in that first one. Asian societies and ho they differ from ours (or don't) always fascinate me.

    Hope you have a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learn so much about other places and cultures and people from reading books.

      Delete
  5. Now You See Me appeals to me since I lived in Singapore (but not as a domestic worker!). There were some Indians who lived in Singapore and they refused to get on the elevator with us because they saw us as below their social class. Both of these look interesting, glad you enjoyed them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing about the culture and class in Singapore society. I'd love to visit one day.

      Delete
  6. I like the covers and think I'd like both books.

    ReplyDelete
  7. These both have amazing covers. Have a great weekend. - Katie

    My STS if you care to visit - https://justanothergirlandherbooks.blogspot.com/2023/03/stacking-shelves-25-march-2023.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. These both look good. I like the sound of Now You See Us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. These book sounds like good books. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So glad I found your blog and and both of these books have me interested and the condition of domestic workers and caregivers gets neglected. But they work very hard and do important work

    ReplyDelete
  11. We were in Singapore earlier this year. It is a fascinating place which prides itself on being multicultural and yet it seemed there were very distinct areas in the city too. At one point the bus commentary talked about a specific shopping centre being where domestic workers went on their days off which kind of surprised me!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That memoir sounds really interesting. I nearly became a creative writing professor, so it would be cool to read about someone who actually did it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MFA in Poetry from Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a PhD in English from the U of Washington.

      Delete
  13. Next up for me is a spot of deep ancestry research with: 'Blood of the Celts - A New Ancestral Story' by Jean Manco.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Both books sound good and it's always interesting to learn more about other countries culture and their livelihood.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy Sunday! These both sound so wonderful and I just love the colors on the covers. I do love books that let you see other cultures and lifestyles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Books are definitely eye openers to other places and situations.

      Delete
  16. Love the covers on both of those! Glad you enjoyed them. Have a great week!
    Lisa Loves Literature

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your books look enticing! Enjjoy them all...and have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Both of these books sound really good and interesting. I always enjoy learning about different cultures. Hope you have a great week! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. One of my biggest takeaways from books is an understanding of societies and cultures that might be somewhat different from my own. Both of these books sound like they would promote that goal for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another place and another point of view. Thank heavens for books!

      Delete
  20. Now You See Us has been on my radar, but Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City sounds good, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is. It's excellent, and had me thinking for a few days.

      Delete
  21. Both of these sound really good and I have to say that even Now You See Us sounds like it could be a documentary! Love the cover of it too and definitely going on my radar. Hope you have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would make a good documentary if the host countries would allow it.

      Delete
  22. The covers are eye-catching.
    Mary @Bookfan

    ReplyDelete
  23. Both of these books are intriguing to me!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like both covers! Sounds like you liked them both so that is a plus. Have a good week and Happy Reading!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Nice to see you enjoyed both books. The covers are certainly pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eye catching. The books themselves are quite good.

      Delete
  26. Both books sound interesting but way outside my usual reading. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been reading memoirs lately, new for me.

      Delete
  27. I have the Meet Me Tonight and I'm looking forward to it. I'm sorry Ididn't see your comments sooner; there was an issue with the moderation page. All set now!

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments and thoughts...

Travel Can Be Fun or Not: Sunday Salon

Books read and to-be-read The Trip by Phoebe Morgan, May 25, 2024; HQ, NetGalley Genre: mystery, adventure, travel fiction, adult fiction B...