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Monday, May 10, 2010

Next Chapter Bookshop Hosts Jean Kwok

‘Girl in Translation’ author captures immigrant experience

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Jean Kwok offers a fresh, clever take on the immigrant experience in her debut novel, Girl in Translation. At the heart of this semi-autobiographical tale is Kimberly, a bright young girl who moves from Hong Kong to Brooklyn at the age of 11. Like many newly arrived American immigrants, Kimberly quickly finds herself submerged in a double life: successful schoolgirl by day and sweatshop worker by night, living in squalor with barely enough to keep her and her mother afloat.

Girl in Translation is a dazzling fictional debut that invites readers into the heart and mind of a keen, intelligent girl as she struggles to escape poverty and overcome culture shock. Through this coming-of-age tale about an unassuming and compassionate youth whose story echoes the voices of countless immigrants, Kwok shares some of her own story. Kwok, who likewise emigrated from Hong Kong as a girl, writes beautifully about the difficulties of growing up between two cultures. Girl in Translation has been selected for the Indie Next List for May 2010. Kwok will visit Next Chapter Bookshop on May 13 at 7 p.m.

In Fractured Tales of Milwaukee’s East Side: A True Story About the Germans, the Poles, the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, and the Greeks, local authors Jim Hanley and Thelma Kamuchey transport readers back to Milwaukee’s East Side during the 1940s and ’50s. The authors string together wonderful, humorous accounts of men and women coming of age in postwar Milwaukee. The narrators reminisce about childhoods spent on the East Side, sharing beloved memories of growing up in close-knit neighborhoods, socializing on Oakland Avenue and living next to one of the Great Lakes. Fractured Tales of Milwaukee’s East Side showcases our great city with beauty, vitality and character. Hanley will speak at Boswell Book Co. on Saturday, May 15, at 2 p.m.