Chinatown, Vancouver, in the late 1930s and 40s provides the setting for this poignant first novel, told through the vivid and intense reminiscences of the three younger children of an immigrant family. They each experience a very different childhood, depending on age and sex, as they encounter the complexities of birth and death, love and hate, kinship and otherness. Mingling with the realities of Canada and the horror of war are the magic, ghosts, paper uncles and family secrets of Poh-Poh, or Grandmother, who is the heart and pillar of the family.
Wayson Choy's Chinatown is a community of unforgettable individuals who are neither this nor that,” neither entirely Canadian nor Chinese. But with each other's help, they survive hardship and heartbreak with grit and humour.