Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ed Lin

Ed Lin is the author of several books and is an all-around standup kinda guy. Waylaid and This Is a Bust were both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively, and both were widely praised. Both also won the Members’ Choice Awards in the Asian American Literary Awards. His third book, Snakes Can’t Run, was published by Minotaur Books in April 2010; it was loved by many and also won an Asian American Literary Award. Lin, who is of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards.

Lin's new novel is One Red Bastard.

Last month I asked him what he was reading.  His reply:
I loved Bear Down, Bear North, by Melinda Moustakis. It's a collection of connected short stories set in rural Alaska. The people have gone feral and it's up to the animals to maintain order and dignity. The experience of reading the book was like feeling my teeth go crooked and scrape the insides of my mouth until I tasted blood. Fuck all the pretty shit. This is for real.

I'm a punk-rock kid so I was psyched to read Pat Gilbert's Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash. You think yuck-ola like American Idol and The Spice Girls are prefab crap? Well get this: The Clash was formed the same way. Each member had to audition for Mick Jones and manager Bernie Rhodes. Simonon got a break because of his looks. Rhodes signed off on all the posed pictures, sloganeering and the "punk" duds. I still love the music but if London Calling is reissued for the fourth time, I don't think I can bite again.

My man Chiwan Choi's latest collection of poems, Abductions, has again hounded me into a corner where I curl up and feel dirty for a few days. What's so great about him? Choi's inventive phrasings and restrained beats will yank away your security blanket and haunt you like the love that you abused and miss like hell.

Ever read the trilogy Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell? I haven't, but I just finished the second book of Farrell's relatively neglected O'Neill-O'Flaherty pentalogy, No Star Is Lost. Farrell writes specifically of first- and second-generation Irish Americans in Chicago in the early 1900s. I try to do the same thing he does by mining the ore of my defined community (Chinese Americans of different generations in Manhattan's Chinatown in 1976) and refining it into something universal.
Visit Ed Lin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Ed Lin's Snakes Can't Run.

The Page 69 Test: One Red Bastard.

--Marshal Zeringue