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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Shyam Selvadurai Recommends

Midnight at the Dragon's Cafe by Judy Fong Bates

Midnight at the Dragon's Cafe (2005)

(From Amazon.ca)

Set in the 1960s, Judy Fong Bates’s much-talked-about debut novel is the story of a young girl, the daughter of a small Ontario town’s solitary Chinese family, whose life is changed over the course of one summer when she learns the burden of secrets. Through Su-Jen’s eyes, the hard life behind the scenes at the Dragon Café unfolds. As Su-Jen’s father works continually for a better future, her mother, a beautiful but embittered woman, settles uneasily into their new life. Su-Jen feels the weight of her mother’s unhappiness as Su-Jen’s life takes her outside the restaurant and far from the customs of the traditional past. When Su-Jen’s half-brother arrives, smouldering under the responsibilities he must bear as the dutiful Chinese son, he forms an alliance with Su-Jen’s mother, one that will have devastating consequences. Written in spare, intimate prose, Midnight at the Dragon Café is a vivid portrait of a childhood divided by two cultures and touched by unfulfilled longings and unspoken secrets.

Judy Fong Bates

(From Judy Fong Bates' site)

Judy Fong Bates came to Canada from China as a young child and grew up in several small Ontario towns. She is a writer, storyteller, and teacher. She taught elementary school in the city of Toronto for over twenty years. While teaching she honed her skills as a storyteller and has told folktales and original stories at schools and festivals throughout southern Ontario. Judy has also taught and mentored students in creative writing through the University of Toronto, Trent University and Diaspora Dialogues.

Midnight at the Dragon Café is the 2011 One Book Community Read for the city of Toronto.

Her stories have been broadcast on CBC radio and published in literary journals and anthologies. She has written for The Globe and Mail and The Washington Post. She is the author of the critically acclaimed short-story collection, China Dog and Other Stories, and the novel, Midnight at the Dragon Café, which was the Everybody Reads selection for Portland, Oregon, and an American Library Association Notable Book for 2006. Her family memoir, The Year of Finding Memory, was published in April, 2010 by Random House of Canada.

Judy has two adult daughters and two grandchildren. She lives with her husband on a farm outside of Toronto. They are both devoted gardeners and enthusiastic hikers.