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Mambo in Chinatown | [Jean Kwok]

Mambo in Chinatown

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York's Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlie's entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her 11-year-old sister, and works - miserably - as a dishwasher. But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew exis.
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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling 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 dancing.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York's Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlie's entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her 11-year-old sister, and works - miserably - as a dishwasher.

But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlie's natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed - something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. As Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with Eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds - Eastern and Western, old world and new - to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity.

©2014 Jean Kwok (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Nirali 07-30-14
    Nirali 07-30-14 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    71
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Predictable and long"
    Would you try another book from Jean Kwok and/or Angela Lin?

    Unlikely


    Has Mambo in Chinatown turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, although I cannot define the genre - beach literature?


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was decent, but sounded a bit whiney at times.


    Any additional comments?

    The story was predictable, and overly long. Perhaps it would appeal more to Chinese Americans who can personally relate to some experiences, but even they may find it very cliche. I finished it, but only because I was bored.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin new york, new york, United States 07-18-14
    Robin new york, new york, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2010

    Hi all. I'm in my 50's (that's relevant, i think), and I favor fiction. I like the british sensibility, and was introduced to the Forsyte Saga through audible ... loved it! I happen to also like Chinese writers, but they are not well represented yet at audible. Looking to follow readers with similar tastes ...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good points and bad"

    I found this book to be something of a mixed bag. There were some sweet moments, and the cultural backdrop was interesting, but overall lacks the element of surprise. An average read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curtis 07-12-14
    Curtis 07-12-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Loved the inside view of two different worlds"
    What did you love best about Mambo in Chinatown?

    A couple of years ago I became an avid amateur ballroom dancer and at the same time I have parents that immigrated from China. This was an accurate journey into both worlds. The characters were very realistic to me. I love ballroom dancing and in many ways, this book's insider descriptions of this world helps me to articulate why. Also, the clash of cultures is one that I can totally relate to and I felt myself cheering on the main character Charlie to successfully navigate between them.


    What about Angela Lin’s performance did you like?

    Angela Lin is one of the best narrators I have heard. She has the amazing ability to credibly bring several very different characters and their personalities to life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda INDIANAPOLIS, IN, United States 07-04-14
    Linda INDIANAPOLIS, IN, United States 07-04-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Not Amy Tan"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I am not a dancer and not interested in how to be one.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jean Kwok again?

    Too shallow.


    What three words best describe Angela Lin’s performance?

    Well presented. soft.


    Do you think Mambo in Chinatown needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Gosh no.


    Any additional comments?

    I even became disinterested in what happens to little sister and the weird doctor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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