Title: 1st three "realistic" Chinese-American novels of San Francisco and New York Chinatown
Place Published: New York
Date Published: 1961-1963
Lee, C. Y. The Flower Drum Song / A Novel of San Francisco's Grant Avenue (Grosset & Dunlap, 1961) Dust Jacket, 244pp. Later Edition. Inscribed by Lee to his Doctor
Chu, Louis. Eat A Bowl of Tea (Lyle Stuart, 1961) First Edition in Dust Jacket.
Lee, Virginia. The House That Tai Ming Built. (The Macmillan Company, 1963) First Edition. Dust Jacket. Inscribed.
Twenty years after Pardee Lowe's ground-breaking Chinatown memoir, these three books were considered the first "realistic" Chinese-American novels, though with many differences. The two male authors were born in China, while Virginia Lee -the second Chinese-American woman novelist after Diana Chang - was a fourth-generation San Franciscan. Lee inscribed his now-famous "Grant Avenue" book the year it was adapted for a movie - a landmark in its own right as the first major Hollywood studio film entirely about and starring Asian Americans. Chu's book was set in New York City, where he was the only Chinese Disc Jockey. The plot details have little in common. But these books, appearing at the start of the Civil Rights era of minority consciousness in America, laid the foundation for the entirely new genre of "serious" Chinese-American literature which was to follow.