Book review: Mambo in Chinatown
From the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom …
Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok is a fictional biography about Charlie Wong, a Chinese born American woman, living in the streets of the Manhattan Chinatown.
Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Now 22, she lives in a tiny apartment with her widower father and her 11-year-old sister, and works-miserably-as a dishwasher.When she lands a job at a ballroom dance studio, everything she once took to be true turns upside down. There, Charlie’s natural talents begin to emerge, transforming her perspective and sense of self-something she must hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western.When her sister becomes ill and her father insists on treating his ailing child with Eastern practices, to no avail, Charlie is forced to reconcile her two worlds-Eastern and Western, old and new-to help her.