Moonie and Mei Ling are looked after by their grandmother, an indomitable matriarch, ruthless manager of 'The Double Happiness' restaurant and fount of endless titbits of Chinese mythology. Feared and renowned in the neighbourhood - and stubbornly attached to the giant meat cleaver she keeps in her handbag - eccentric Grandma Wong weaves a magical world of surreal stories and ancient wisdom around her two wayward granddaughters. However, the girls' lives are also being drawn forward by the inexorable pace of assimilation and the ever-beckoning American dream, and as fascinated as they might be by Buddhist philosophy, they are also cool, hip American girls with straight-A grades and scores to settle - with the neighbourhood boys who tease them and with the unforgiving media, which tells them that they should look like Barbie dolls and not like Chinese girls.
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. She has won numerous awards for her poetry, including four Pushcart Prizes. Her books of poetry include Dwarf Bamboo, Rhapsody in Plain Yellow and The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty.