MY GOOD SON
by Yang Huang
Univ. of New Orleans Press. 304 pages, $18.95
“WHO WOULD ever want to become a parent, if he knew every trouble ahead?” asks a character toward the end of Chinese-American writer Yang Huang’s new novel, My Good Son. The year is 1990, a year after the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. People feel it is “pointless … to be burdened with the romantic notion of a democratic China.” The focus now is on each person “getting ahead in whatever way possible.” A college diploma has become essential for advancement. Under these circumstances, there cannot be a moment of peace for an ambitious young Chinese person, or for the ambitious father of a young Chinese person.
Philip Gambone has taught in China and is the author of the novel Beijing(Wisconsin, 2003).