A conversation with Justin Allen of The Creosote Journal
In her book American Chinatown, Bonnie Tsui charts the changing landscapes of five American neighborhoods. They are ethnically Chinese, as well as hosting other Asian communities, and their often tough history of exclusion and poverty has been tempered from the beginning with resilience and savvy self-presentation. The five Chinatowns Tsui describes—San Francisco (the oldest), New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Las Vegas (the newest)—have been places of constant reinvention: immigrants coming to build new lives and identities, urban neighborhoods in economic and cultural flux. Today more than ever, they’re a portrait of changing urban dynamics and intergenerational complexity. I met with her to discuss the discoveries she came to in her 2009 book, how she arrived at them, and her tips for writers.