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Asian Heritage Month

May 31, 2012

I’ve been pretty slack on the National Days: I did two or three blog posts for Black History Month in February (last year it was a whole series), one shout out to International Women’s Day in March, but I totally let National Poetry Month slip through my fingers in May (although my friend Anita challenged me to a poetry dual, I epically failed). Now May is almost done and I’ve neglected Asian Heritage Month. No more! Here’s a my post of my favourite and notable writer of Asian descent.

The thing about Asian Heritage Month is that it recognizes an entire continent. Weird. We don’t have South America month, or European month. Compounded with the fact that the National month is highlighting achievements of the largest continent on the planet, there’s a Western preconceived notion that ‘Asian’ applies to far east Asians only: I’m talking Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai etc. Asia consists of  the Phillipines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Israel, Laos, Russia, Malaysia, Taiwan and many, many others countries.

It’s near impossible to pin-point the best Asian literature if you can call it that. Asia is the middle east, south east asia, far east and russia. It’s so much landmass and so many cultures, languages, religions and histories and so overwhelming that as I’m writing this post I’m exclaiming in my head, “Asia is fucking huge!”

And so, I’ll attempt, abeit terribly, to summerize  the ‘Asian’ literature that has had a huge influence on me. I can’t touch every country, hell, I’ll probably gap on an entire region of countries, but here’s to trying!

Jade Peony – Wayson Choy (novel) Chinese Canadian
The God of Small Things – Arundhanti Roy (novel) Indian
Reading Fiona Lam’s Enter the Chrysanthemum – Evelyn Lau (poem) Chinese Canadian
The Wasted Vigil – Nadeem Aslam (novel) Pakistani
The Cave – Evgeny Zamiatin (short story) Russian
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami (novel) Japanese
Becoming Madame Mao – Anchee Min (memoir) Chinese
Cherry Orchard – Anton Chekhov (play) Russian
Now – Noan Achinoam Nini (poem) Israeli
Old Maid – Vivian N. Limpin (poem) Filippino
Shadow Lines  – Amitav Ghosh (novel) Indian-Bengali

Enjoy the reads my friends. Happy Asian Heritage Month.

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