Hunter College, CUNY
Asian American Studies Program


Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009     Time: 6:30PM to 8PM

Place: Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue, Manhattan
Hunter West Building - 8th Floor (Faculty Lounge)

Ed Lin is the author of Waylaid. Published by Kaya in 2002, Waylaid was universally praised in a broad range of publications including Booklist, Asianweek and Playboy. Waylaid was named to Booklist's Editors Choice 2002 list and also won the Members’ Choice Award from the Asian American Writers Workshop in 2003. This Is a Bust, Lin’s second novel, was published by Kaya Press in December 2007 to a pre-publication starred review in Booklist.


Waylaid is the story of a Chinese American boy struggling to grow up amidst the drudgery and sexual innuendo of his parentıs sleazy motel on the Jersey Shore. Conscripted into the family business, the protagonist spends his summer days and afterschool hours renting out rooms to johns and hookers, lonely old men, and families whose homes have been repossessed. He becomes obsessed with losing his virginity, a preoccupation whose very intensity reflects a society that delivers sex as a distraction from despair. In its blackly humorous exploration of immigrant dreams and working class realities, Waylaid is a switchblade in the gut to stories of overachievement and success that ignore the human cost.

This Is a Bust, the second novel by award-winning author Ed Lin, turns the conventions of hard-boiled pulp stories on their head by exploring the unexotic and very real complexities of New York City’s Chinatown, circa 1976, through the eyes of a Chinese-American cop. A Vietnam vet and an alcoholic, Robert Chow’s troubles are compounded by the fact that he’s basically community-relations window-dressing for the NYPD: he’s the only Chinese American on the Chinatown beat, and the only police officer who can speak Cantonese, but he’s never assigned anything more challenging than appearances at store openings or community events. Chow is willing to stuff down his feelings and hang tight for a promotion to the detective track, despite the community unrest that begins to roil around him. But when his superiors remain indifferent to an old Chinese woman’s death, he is forced to take matters into his own hands. This Is a Bust is at once a murder mystery, a noir homage and a devastating, uniquely nuanced portrait of a neighborhood in flux, stuck between old rivalries and youthful idealism.

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