On Gold Mountain

On Gold Mountain

The One-hundred-year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family

eBook - 2012
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Chronicles the experiences of a Chinese-American family in California, beginning with the immigration of the author's great-great-grandfather in the late 1800s.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781101910085
9780795304941
0795304943
9780795304965
079530496X
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxi, 402 pages, [30] pages of plates) illustrations, maps

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m
miaone
Dec 25, 2019

I agree about the difficulty of reading the family tree, and I read the book in book form. The tree should have been much larger and not written in artsy script but just typed. If you include such a tool, you should make it easily usable for your readers.
And I felt the need of it because of the plethora of characters and their ever-changing names. Finally I just accepted it on faith, and read "about' the characters.
Two things I object to, in addition to the above: writers should not assume they know the thoughts of their characters, and See does that a lot.
Also, See has written much too much about the original character, especially his early years, providing her rationale for practically everything he does. Then later he gets brushed over. He does, however, come across as believable. Not so his wife, the matriarch of the clan. I never understood where she was coming from, as she seemed to change personality and motive every chapter or so.
In short, too many people to keep track of. Valuable, though, as a good representation of what must be a real dearth of generational stories of American families of mixed races and cultures.
And I want to praise See for the monumental amount of research she had to do!

s
savtadina
Dec 08, 2019

I read this on an ebook while traveling and finished it at home. I think it would be best to read on a real book in order to refer to the family tree regularly and to see the pictures before the end. (The family tree had such fine print that it was very difficult to read.)

The impetus for writing this story began when a very elderly great-aunt (or great great aunt) asked her to write the family story, and when she died, she was inspired to do so.

She did an amazing amount of research, found things many family members knew nothing about, and also chronicled the story of the Chinese in California, and the discrimination, hostility and attacks (both locally and from the government) they faced. Once published, many Chinese=Americans contacted her, saying how much they appreciated her chronicling her family as it related to theirs also.

The most unusual aspect of this family was that her great-grandfather was Chinese while her great-grandmother was Causiasan--both from rural farm stock.

I got easily confused by so many names and family members, and at times I just skimmed through parts of the book, but on the whole, it was worth reading to the end, especially the updated epilogue. In it, the author tells how she finally went to China and met relatives of her great-Grandfather who never came to the U.S. Another relative also found letters from her great-grandmother's Oregon family (who had disowned her when she married a Chinese man) written in pencil (some over 100 years old)...

But the main point of the epilogue to me was this quote:

"What I learned from writing On Gold Mountain is that all that really matters in life is family, tradition, and love."

d
drfoster
Jun 13, 2019

good but drags toward the end, as their struggles are over and the next generation takes over

p
pp47
Mar 01, 2018

pictures, maps and family tree enjoyed after reading" tea girl"

cliffoew Sep 22, 2012

Difficult to Renew 1 book. I keep getting a msg to choose book.

k
KatXena
Aug 28, 2012

This is a history of Author Lisa See's own family. She takes the dry facts, names, dates, and places and manages to weave them into a beautiful and extremely interesting story. Ms. See made me feel as if I grew up with her family; their fears, loves, joys and frustrations were all there for me to feel along with them. She has also included a generous number of photographs of her family from each generation. This is a fascinating read for anyone.

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