7.20.2010

Crossing, a Novel

Andrew Xia Fukuda is an author born in Manhattan and raised in Hong Kong.  He is half-Chinese and half-JapaneseCrossing is his debut novel.
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Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Andrew Fukuda, an Excerpt

Question: Crossing is the story of Xing Xu, a Chinese teenager growing up in a small town in upstate New York. Xing is a loner who doesn’t fit in at school and when a rash of disappearances rattle the town, suspicion is immediately cast in his direction. Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

Andrew Fukuda: I worked for a few years with immigrant teens in Manhattan's Chinatown. What really struck me was how acutely they felt isolated from society at large. Shoved out of the way, really. And they shared a real disenchantment with America. One Sunday, a group of us--we were traveling in upstate New York--decided to attend church. It turned out to be an all-white church and I still remember the cold looks of suspicion and icy stares cast our way throughout the service. Just because we were Chinese, just because we looked different. Those cold stares haunted me for a long time afterward. It got me thinking: what if an immigrant teen had to grow up all alone in this kind of community? And what if something terribly, mysteriously awful started to happen in that community?

The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre at the hands of Seung-Hui Cho added urgency to my writing. I feel that Asian American males have often been dealt an unfair hand by the media, and I was afraid of a backlash, afraid that we might get typecast as raging, hate-filled, gun-toting campus killers. For weeks after, I attacked the manuscript with renewed fervor and purpose, determined to add more dimensionality to Xing's character. Realistic complexity and nuance in characters, after all, kill stereotypes.

Question: In what way is Crossing different from the typical immigrant novel?

Andrew Fukuda: I wanted to depart from what we usually see in immigrant novels: instead of cloying and clichéd scenes of family meals, flowery mother-daughter relationships, and cathartic returns to the motherland, I wanted to layer questions of identity and ethnicity over a thriller plotline. In Crossing, this immigrant theme is propelled forward by the suspense generated in the ever-deepening mystery of the disappearances. This fusion of themes was a blend of my background: as an Asian American I was able to add depth to the ethnic theme; as a criminal prosecutor, I was able to develop nuances in the mystery aspect of the novel.

8 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting book. I'll put it in my shopping cart. I also remember how the mainstream media acted as if Seung-Hui Cho (who begged for mental health treatment) just jumped up one day and started killing WP without cause.

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  2. I also remember how the mainstream media acted as if Seung-Hui Cho (who begged for mental health treatment) just jumped up one day and started killing WP without cause.

    Don't even get me started of that. Remember that HUGE hoopla they made about his ethnicity?

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  3. This sounds really interesting. I'll be picking this one up for sure.

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  4. I saw a banner for it on Angry Asian Man. Apparently, it's quite creepy. I hope to get a copy soon.

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  5. great interview, will check out the book

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  6. @Ankhesen

    Remember that HUGE hoopla they made about his ethnicity?

    Oh yes, I remember. Not only for that context, but for the one here, too, because during the duration of the US news cycle, the networks with the most anti-American bent were all over this shit. It was weird because they normally ignore stuff like this and I'd say it was historical that they took a stand for another, non-Japanese, Asian. They talked endlessly about this poor man's attempts to get therapy and psychiatric treatment.

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  7. Because in America, white folks went right over that part. Especially since they were the ones ignoring his requests for help.

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  8. @Ankhesen

    white folks went right over that part

    They haven't yet grasped the meaning of "reap what you sow."

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