LivesFamily_r4_01(Linotype-Tasse) (1)Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate and Circumstance

by Denise Chong

To purchase:

“Our critics’ favourite books of 2013 “A masterful storyteller at the peak of her writing career, Vancouver-born Denise Chong has written a worthy historical follow-up to her bestselling 1994 family memoir, The Concubine’s ChildrenLives of the Family features evocative tales of Chinese immigrants in Ottawa in the middle of the 20th century. By detailing their experiences alongside the challenges and outright horrors endured by family members in China, Chong seamlessly conveys an enormous amount of historical information in compelling narrative tales. Bravo.” Georgia Strait, Vancouver
“It is easy to imagine so many of these stories slipping into the stuff-of-novels”  Even when presenting almost overwhelmingly sad stories, Denise Chong presents her material with delicacy – and, often, beauty – so that readers are left with a sense of promise: “She said she had a son who went to school in the district market town. In such towns, which could serve as many as thirty satellite villages, stray bits of information about lost family members eventually found a nesting spot, in the way that swirling leaves settle into a pile.” When people do reconnect, when the lives of the families in this work intersect, there is a sense of a collective sigh, and readers are included in that swell of emotion. It is truly a pleasure to read of the updates to the families’ stories in the epilogue, even though it is disappointing that the book is barely 200 pages long.




One Response to News

  1. Greetings: With great excitement I discovered a link to this page while searching for information regarding the “All Chinese Aces” Hockey team. My father-in law, William E. Quinn played along with his brother “Sonny” George Fong Quinn Junior on this very team. This revelation surfaced when the Joe brothers arrived to pay their respects at “Grampa’s” funeral service. I have been very unsuccessful in my search for the origins of the original three “Quinn” boys who arrived on Canadian soils and separated (Charlie and George Quinn Sr. to Montreal and Peydra to Cuba?) My husband’s Grandfather (George) and caucasian Grandmother (Margaret McBain, shunned from her Glengarry Settler family of Moosecreek Ontario) raised six boys and one daughter and moved from Montreal to Pembroke, settling in Ottawa in the 20’s. They operated the St. James restaurant in Ottawa and all six boys served in the military….I have many newspaper clippings gathered and very many unanswered stories. Alas, my father-in-law was the last surviving member of the family and I just can’t close the many loops of history.

    Dianne Quinn, Prince George B.C.

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