Tom Lin makes his debut with “ The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu ”
“Historically, the West has been this super masculine gender – the male cowboy, the male breeder, the male outlaw,” North said. “It’s a genre ripe to be reinvented or exploited. There is something interesting and powerful about these myths, and it can be fun and liberating to play around with it and create something all your own.
Other writers expose how westerns frequently feature native and immigrant characters as villains or generic victims, if they appear at all. Téa Obreht’s 2019 novel “Inland,” set in the American West in the late 19th century, featured an unorthodox cowboy: an immigrant from the Ottoman Empire riding a camel instead of a horse, whose supernatural abilities include the ability to sense the feelings of the dead.
Lin’s book is one of the New Westerners exploring the lives of Chinese Americans and immigrants, who have largely been overlooked in the cultural history of the West. Chinese immigrants made up 90% of the workforce on the Central Pacific Railway line, but they were often exploited and disparaged, and later were denied citizenship by the Chinese exclusion law. from 1882.
Jenny Tinghui Zhang, a Chinese-American writer from Austin, directed her upcoming debut novel, “Four Treasures from Heaven,” against the backdrop of the Exclusion Law. It follows a girl named Daiyu who is kidnapped from China in the 1880s and taken to the US border, where she tries to find a place in the face of anti-Chinese sentiment and violence against immigrants.
“We’re starting to question a lot of the fundamental and overly simplistic mythologies about the country, and the Western genre seems like a perfect vehicle to challenge them,” said C Pam Zhang, whose 2020 Booker Prize nominee debut. How Much of these Hills Is Gold ‘takes place during the Gold Rush in a fablelike version of the West where tigers roam.
Zhang, who grew up reading “The Little House on the Prairie,” said she wanted to write a frontier adventure story that explored the loneliness of the immigrant experience and the clash between civilization and nature. . In “How Much of These Hills Is Gold,” two orphaned Chinese-American siblings, one of whom is transgender, set off with a stolen horse in search of their fortune and a burial place for their father.