China Books to publish Excess Baggage, compelling tale of family dislocation in Chinese diaspora community

SAN FRANCISCO – Friday, May 10th, 2013. China Books, an imprint of Sinomedia International Group, will publish Excess Baggage by Karen Ma in May 13, 2013.

Taking off where other immigrant stories end, Excess Baggage offers  a more complex look at family than the stereotypical happily ever after reunification tale. The book chronicles two Chinese sisters, one raised in China during the desolate Cultural Revolution and the other in Japan during the freewheeling years of bubble capitalism. They reunite as adults in Tokyo in the early 1990s and their family history soon catches up with them.

p-11174-EXBAGG.jpg In the same vein as works by critically acclaimed Asian-American authors Amy Tan and Gail Tsukiyama, Ma’s Excess Baggage takes a fresh look at dislocation and family from an Asian perspective, while also functioning as a universal tale of alienation, love, jealousy, and family obligations in the face of adversity.

Excess Baggage provides an insightful, moving narrative that asks fundamental questions about immigrant life sure to resonate with any diaspora community. Edward Gargan, author of China’s Fate and former New York Times Beijing Bureau Chief, writes Ma “brings her deep experience in Asia to bear in penetrating into the souls of Chinese and Japanese alike, exposing the fragility of hope and the depths of cruelty, the clash of cultures and the search for identity. In prose that is alternatively gripping and wrenching, Excess Baggage asks the questions that haunt all exiles from their homeland: who, after all, are we?”

Having previously authored a book on cross cultural communication, Ma offers insight into Asian family life few other authors writing in English today can manage.  Oliver August, author and editor at The Economist, writes Ma’s book “effortlessly captures the suspicions and dependencies of a dysfunctional family transplanted in stages from China to Japan, unwrapping its members’ flaws, feuds and life-giving fascinations. Buoyed by brushstrokes of gentle humor and not an ounce of pretension, the author conjures up characters with an unexpected emotional charge.”

Karen Ma is a veteran reporter, having worked in Japan, Hong Kong and India. She studied Chinese Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle and is fluent in Chinese, Japanese and English. Ma previously published The Modern Madam Butterfly: Fantasy and Reality of Japanese Cross-cultural Relationships (1996 Charles E. Tuttle). Excess Baggage is her first work of fiction.

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