Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction
“A book of fierce clarity and originality” (Newsweek), Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiography tells of her early life in California and the cultural confusion she experienced as the daughter of Chinese immigrants.
In her award-winning book The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston created an entirely new form—an exhilarating blend of autobiography and mythology, of world and self, of hot rage and cool analysis. First published in 1976, it has become a classic in its innovative portrayal of multiple and intersecting identities—immigrant, female, Chinese, American.
As a girl, Kingston lives in two confounding worlds: the California to which her parents have immigrated and the China of her mother’s “talk stories.” The fierce and wily women warriors of her mother’s tales clash jarringly with the harsh reality of female oppression out of which they come. Kingston’s sense of self emerges in the mystifying gaps in these stories, which she learns to fill with stories of her own. A warrior of words, she forges fractured myths and memories into an incandescent whole, achieving a new understanding of her family’s past and her own present.
“A remarkable book. . . . As an account of growing up female and Chinese-American in California, in a laundry of course, it is an anti-nostalgic; it burns the fat right out of the mind. As a dream—of the ’female avenger’—it is dizzying, elemental, a poem turned into a sword.” —The New York Times