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Hollow Bamboo: A Novel by William Ping

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The hilarious and heartbreaking story of two William Pings in Newfoundlandthe lost millennial and the grandfather he knows nothing about

William Ping's millennial life revolves around eating at restaurants, posting online about eating at restaurants, then overanalyzing it. This changes unexpectedly when a dinner with his Chinese girlfriend's family goes sideways and his insecurity about his biracial identity and his ignorance of his own Chinese heritage overflow like lava. During a much-needed break from the dinner table, Will is visited in the men's room by a sarcastic, bullying spirit named Mo. The spirit whisks him into the past to learn about the life of his grandfather, the first William Ping, who emigrated from China to Newfoundland in 1931 to work in a laundry.

Based on a true story, Hollow Bamboo recounts with humour and sympathy the often-brutal struggles, and occasional successes, faced by some of the first Chinese immigrants in Newfoundland. It is a journey of heartbreak, sacrifice, brotherhood and family ties. But most of all, it is about love and survival on the Rock.

Drawing on elements of magical realism, autofiction and satire, as well as deep historical research, Hollow Bamboo is a fresh and original portrayal of our past and our present, and the debut of an extraordinary new author.

Critical Praise

 “William Ping is an exceptionally talented writer.”  — Madeleine Thien, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

“By turns funny and infuriating, Hollow Bamboo immerses the reader in the lived experience of anti-Asian racism in Canada. A magical green creature, a millennial, and the author share a wry sensibility in this entertaining debut novel.”  — Vincent Lam, author of On The Ravine