All That Matters

All That Matters

A Novel

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Set in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, Choy continues the story of the Chen family household, this time narrated by First Son, Kiam-Kim. We first meet Kiam-Kim at the age of eight, staring at the yellowed photograph of his mother, who died in China when he was just a baby. Kiam-Kim, Poh-Poh (his larger-than-life grandmother) and Mr. Chen, his demure and honest father, journey to a new life in Vancouver's Old Chinatown. Following the dream of finding gold and then one day returning to China -- wealthy -- they, like many Chinese families around them, find themselves in a country on the brink of the Second World War, struggling to survive in a foreign land and keep alive the traditions of an older world.

Finely crafted, and rich in historical detail, All That Matters depicts 1930s Vancouver in the haunting hues of memory, and sees in the Chen family a fragile miniature of a larger world. Dwelling on Kiam-Kim's sense of responsibility to his community, Choy unfolds the Chen family's secrets in thoughtful and luminous prose, leading the reader to a breathtaking conclusion that far transcends the limits of its time and place, and gestures towards all humanity.

Publisher: [Toronto, Ont.] :, Doubleday Canada
Copyright Date: ♭2004
ISBN: 9780385674867
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Mar 19, 2018

I really couldn't get into this book. It droned on and on. It was interesting to find out about the Vancouver area and the culture of new immigrant Chinese families during that time period. Maybe I was missing something, but I had high hopes for this book. I can't imagine anyone really seriously enjoying this book who wasn't from Vancouver because they wouldn't recognize the places that the author talked about throughout the novel. In short, I kept expecting something to happen. It read as if it were a diary of someone. Things did in fact happen throughout the novel, however it was sincerely anti-climactic.

Sep 27, 2013

This is the sequel to "The Jade Peony". Through the eyes of first Son we find ourselves immersed into the lives of this Chinese-Canadian family. Po-Po (Grandmother) lends significant inslght her difficult life and into the customs and legends of those from Old China. These can make you laugh and cry. I felt I was living in the small house in Vancouver; felt their shame at not being allowed to be Canadian citizens; felt what is our historic shame in the 1923 Exclusion Act which prohibited Chinese access to Canada; felt the humiliation of those brave Chinese lads who were not wanted in the
Canadian Armed Forces; understood the pain,anger and hatred they felt towards the Japanese who invaded China and murdered many thousands of Chinese children, women and men.

A must-read for anyone who wishes to understand both our Canadian history and that of the early Chinese immigrants to Gold Mountain (British Columbia).

Aside from the above, this is an extraordinary story about the lives of an 'ordinary' Chinese family living in Canada.

Jul 22, 2012

Read 2009

snowspirit1 May 05, 2011

Lovely sequel to The Jade Peony.


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Jul 24, 2008

Shorlisted for the Giller Prize, this is the much anticipated sequel to Choy’s first novel, The Jade Peony. We meet the protagonist Kiam Kim as he boards a ship to Vancouver and follow him through his adulthood in Vancouver's Chinatown. Other intriguing characters include Kiam’s grandmother Poh Poh, father, stepmother, and the Irish boy next door, the reckless Jack O'Connor.

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