The Bukowski Agency - Paper Shadows

Read an excerpt
See all author's titles

342 pages hardcover
Black-and-white photographs throughout
Finished books available

RIGHTS SOLD

US: Picador
Canada: Penguin
Australia: Penguin

ABOUT WAYSON CHOY

Wayson Choy (Photo: John Beebe)
(Photo: Robert Mills)

Born and raised in Vancouver, Wayson Choy is Professor Emeritus at Humber College in Toronto. In 1995 his first novel, The Jade Peony, spent six months on The Globe and Mail’s national bestseller list, won the Trillium Book Award (shared with Margaret Atwood) for the best book by an Ontario author, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. It was also an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. It has never been out of print, and over 100,000 copies have been sold. The Literary Review of Canada declared The Jade Peony one of the one hundred most important books in Canadian history.

In 1999 Choy’s first memoir, Paper Shadows, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, and the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and was the winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. All That Matters, a companion novel to The Jade Peony, won the Trillium Book Award in 2004 and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. In 2009 Choy released to wide acclaim Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying.

Paper Shadows
A Chinatown Childhood

a memoir by Wayson Choy

THREE WEEKS BEFORE HIS FIFTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY, WAYSON CHOY RECEIVED A SURPRISING PHONE CALL: A MYSTERIOUS WOMAN TOLD HIM THAT HE HAD BEEN ADOPTED. A BEAUTIFULLY WROUGHT MEMOIR, PAPER SHADOWS IS INSPIRED BY THIS STARTLING REVELATION

  • Shortlisted for the 1999 Governor General’s Award
  • Shortlisted for the inaugural Drainie-Taylor Prize
  • A 1999 Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year
  • A national bestseller

Paper Shadows 2017 editionThree weeks before his fifty-seventh birthday, novelist Wayson Choy received a mysterious phone message. When he called the number, an older woman's voice answered, telling him that she had just seen his mother on the streetcar. Wayson politely informed her that his mother had died two decades earlier. "No, no, not your mother," the voice insisted; "your real mother."

The woman on the phone was right: he had, in fact, been adopted. So, three weeks before his fifty-seventh birthday, Wayson Choy became an orphan.

This astonishing revelation inspires the beautifully wrought, sensitively told Paper Shadows, the story of a Chinatown past, lost and found. From his early experiences with the ghosts of old Chinatown to his discovery later in life of closely guarded family secrets that crossed the ocean from mainland China to Gold Mountain, this multilayered portrait of a child's world reveals uncanny similarities between the colourful secrets that enrich Wayson Choy's award-winning The Jade Peony and the subsequently discovered secrets of his own life.

PRAISE FOR PAPER SHADOWS: A CHINATOWN CHILDHOOD

“This is a haunted memoir, full of phantoms and secrets, but it is also full of rich historical detail and sharp, clear descriptions of daily life.... The unknown is always an alluring prospect, but this book suggests that what counts in the end is a more ordinary reality, the patience and forgiveness and sense of responsibility that make daily family life possible... In the era of the talk-show memoir, in which telling it all passes for telling it well, Paper Shadows stands out as a thoughtful, luminous, and finely crafted work.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“In Paper Shadows, Wayson Choy has created a memoir so much more complex and faceted than the usual my-life-in-shorts saga... Just as surely as [Choy's] mother was haunted by the ghosts of dead ancestors, Paper Shadows is haunted by unfinished business. But that may simply guarantee a sequel to this lovely, agile dance of memory.”  — NATIONAL POST

“Choy makes Vancouver’s Chinatown seem a microcosm of the world, and his exploration of his own particular family history allows us to reflect on large themes like home, place and our own intergenerational secrets. Paper Shadows is a healing book about life, death and coming to terms with our pasts, real or imagined. It’s haunting.”  — NOW MAGAZINE

“[E]xquisitely written... Much of Choy's artistry lies in his sense of what to avoid. He has polished the shards of his boyhood memory into gleaming jewels, but he never invests them with adult portentousness.”  — MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE

 

Paper Shadows

 

 

Back to top