Narratives of Adoption and San Francisco : New Geography of the Asian American Novel

So here’s something that I don’t encounter very often — an academic paper on one of my books. This one is for Love Love, and it’s like…super academic. Like it’s got an abstract and everything. Here’s the gist:

Recently, new Asian American novels are using the trope of adoption in unconventional ways. Sung J. Woo’s Love Love and Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl both employ the motif of adoption in their plot, yet unlike the representative Asian American literary works featuring adoption such as Gish Jen’s Love Wife, Chang-Rae Lee’s Gesture Life, and Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood, they portray cases of homoracial, inter-country adoption. Instead of visiting the country of origin in Asia with questions of biological relatives and reasons for adoption, both protagonists travel domestically to San Francisco in order to explore their identity. San Francisco becomes an intriguing city of origin for both Asian American protagonists who walk the city as flâneur figures with a postmodern sensibility. Kevin Lee in Love Love observes San Francisco as a cosmopolitan city. Lee Lien in Pioneer Girl considers it a place of reinvention in the West. While the history of Kevin’s Korean American birth father belongs to the social and cultural history of 1970s San Francisco, and not to the ethnic histories of Asian America, the adoption mystery of Rose Wilder Lane beckons Lee Lien deeper into an American literary history. As San Francisco is marked as “origin” or “birthplace” on the map of Asian American itineraries, not as destination of Asian migrations, narratives of adoption offered by these novels suggest the changing mode of Asian American literature that interrogates and problematizes the ways in which Asian American identity and experiences are defined, represented, and imagined.

The rest is written in Korean! The journal is titled “미국소설,” which translates to American Fiction. If you happen to read Korean and want to see the whole thing, go for it!