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David Wong Louie, Who Probed Ethnic Identification in Fiction, Dies at 63


“What he had mastered came out crudely and strangely twisted,” Mr. Louie wrote. “His phrases, built from a vocabulary of deference and accommodation, irritated Mrs. Chow for the way they resembled the obsequious blabber of her servants back home.”

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Mr. Louie’s short-story assortment, ”Pangs of Love,” gained awards from The Los Angeles Times and the literary journal Ploughshares for finest first ebook and was chosen as a Notable Guide of 1991 by The New York Times Guide Assessment.

“Displacement” was included within the anthology “The Best American Short Stories 1989.”

Mr. Louie additionally wrote of characters who resist their ethnic backgrounds. Sterling Lung, the protagonist of “The Barbarians Are Coming,” is a Chinese language-American chef who was skilled in French delicacies however who is consistently requested to make Chinese language meals. He rebels towards his Chinese language mother and father by marrying a Jewish girl as an alternative of a lady in China named Yuk, chosen from afar by his mother and father.

“What did he expect?” Sterling thinks about his father. “I was born here, among the wolves. If he wanted a clone of himself, if he wanted Yuk for a child, he should’ve stayed in China.”

However Sterling’s marriage, born of passionate revolt, turns into dutiful and chilly, very similar to that of his mother and father.

Mr. Louie was born on Dec. 20, 1954, in Rockville Centre, N.Y., on Lengthy Island, to Henry and Yu Lan (Mok) Louie. His father got here to the US from China within the 1940s, and his mom joined him within the 1950s. The household ran a laundry in East Meadow, N.Y., for many of Mr. Louie’s childhood.

He was one of many few Asian-People at East Meadow Excessive Faculty.

“A lot of Asian people, including myself, try to figure out who we are by trying on different guises,” Mr. Louie instructed The New York Times in a 1991 profile. “All my childhood friends were white, so I thought of myself as white almost. I’d tell myself, ‘Don’t think of your parents.’ ”

He graduated from highschool in 1973 and earned a bachelor’s diploma in English from Vassar School in 1977 and a grasp’s in inventive writing from the College of Iowa in 1981. He taught writing on the College of Iowa, Vassar and schools within the College of California system earlier than settling at U.C.L.A., the place he additionally taught Asian-American research, in 1992.



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Updated: September 28, 2018 — 1:14 am

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