August 09, I've always had a habit of being persuaded by whatever I've been reading most recently best novel ever! The novel follows the classic coming-of-age plot, with a young boy Kiam-Kim arriving in a new home Canada, from China with assorted family challenges; the historic period covered is , with some details about the '29 economic crisis as well as post-WW2 social reconstruction. The Chen family is a complicated one, genetically as well as emotionally, and Choy does a wonderful job of illuminating the many ways in which these complications feed into each other: silence and volubility, adherence to tradition, yearning for the new, siblings whose parentages are variously step-, and so on. Set in Vancouver's Chinatown, mostly in the s, All That Matters emphasizes racial segregation and mingling, both formally sanctioned and personally pursued.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. All That Matters by Wayson Choy.

His writing has a quiet integrity and an exquisite grace. Kiam-Kim is th "A new book from Choy is an event. Kiam-Kim is three years old when he arrives by ship at Gold Mountain with his father and his grandmother, Poh-Poh.

From his earliest years, Kiam-Kim is deeply conscious of his responsibility to maintain the family's honor and to set an example for his younger siblings. However, his life is increasingly complicated by his burgeoning awareness of the world outside Vancouver's Chinatown.

Choy once again accomplishes the extraordinary: blending a haunting evocation of tenacious, ancient traditions with a precise, funny, and very modern coming-of-age story. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published February 17th by Other Press first published More Details Original Title.

Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about All That Matters , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of All That Matters.

May 15, Hadi rated it really liked it. I enjoyed The Jade Peony but I loved this! The voice of Kiam feels so authentic and true, and lots of experiences resonate with my own immigrant childhood in the UK. I loved the subtext in the early chapters where Kiam is telling of incidents and comments made by his family - esp Poh Poh - without understanding what is really being said. The voice of Kiam matures through the book and suddenly I realised how I'd watched Kiam grow-up.

I did find the Kiam-Jack-Jenny triangle underwritten and the ending didn't feel entirely right but still a marvelous book. View all 3 comments.

Mar 18, Taewon rated it really liked it. As somebody who immigrated to Vancouver with his family in , I find this book both touching and humbling. The story is set on a different time period, so I haven't expected this. However, the obstacles that the protagonist and his family endure are still reminiscent of what I and my family have gone trough during the first decade in Vancouver. However, it is also true that my own experience was far easier than what this book depict.

I was aided by modern technologies and more open-minded peop As somebody who immigrated to Vancouver with his family in , I find this book both touching and humbling. I was aided by modern technologies and more open-minded people. Also, I am Korean while the protagonist and his family are Chinese.

The differences are there, but I still empathize with the characters. When you read a novel, that's the best thing to happen. I have recently found out that the book is partially based on the author's own life. That fact alone has prompted me to find more his works. I am going to read the Jade Peony next. Mar 07, Sandra MacKay rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. There is so much authenticity to the distinct characters, dialogue and interaction.

I felt for his characters and lived through their descriptions. He illustrates the culture and customs very well. Even though I didn't read "The Jade Peony" previous to this book, I got a good sense of the characters and their relationships. Apr 11, linda rated it really liked it. The life of an immigrant family in Vancouver's Chinatown. Like most immigrants' stories it's about the weaving of the old ways into a new life, of hard work and the importance of family and no one tells it like Choy.

Jul 08, Marie desJardins rated it liked it. The insight into the Canadian-Chinese immigrant experience is enjoyable, but the story and characterizations are just kinda Nov 27, Lea Taranto rated it it was amazing. Like all his books this story is beautiful and sad both intertwining and causing the other. I find that the way Wayson Choy writes is not as immediate as I am used to and makes me feel somewhat removed from the scene.

Loved this sequel of Jade Peony. I read them both fairly close together and actually think they should be sold together for the full complete picture of the story of immigration to Gold Mountain. A Canadian Gem. Nov 11, Elaine Conte rated it really liked it. I enjoyed this story about a family that immigrates from China to Vancouver in the s.

Ahhh, what to say about this much anticipated sequel to Choy's ''The Jade Peony''? This continuation of the Chen family's struggle in a new world is written in Kiam Kim, the first sons' voice as he climbs aboard a ship to sail to Vancouver where he matures and grows to adulthood. The beloved grandmother, Poh-Poh is ever present in this second novel and still dispensing her tales about ancient myths, omens, ghosts and superstitions. Kiam Kim wants to believe in the things his grandmother is telli Ahhh, what to say about this much anticipated sequel to Choy's ''The Jade Peony''?

Kiam Kim wants to believe in the things his grandmother is telling him and understands that she wants him to believe like she does, but Kiam Kim's father encourages him instead to embrace their modern new world and customs. Being the first-born son, Kiam Kim is faced with being a good role-model for the younger children in the family and he must be aware at all times of what he is saying and doing so as not to "shame" the family. Kiam Kim becomes best friends with his next door neighbour, an Irish boy named Jack O'Connor and with Jenny Chong who is the daughter of one of his grandmother's mah-jong players.

The story is mainly centered around Kiam Kim's responsibilities, burdens, and relationships with his family and outsiders and is often charming, delightful, fascinating but also sprinkled with sadness, sorrow and unhappiness. For those of you who haven't read Choy's first novel: "The Jade Peony", I highly recommend you read it first before beginning this sequel as it will make it much easier for you to understand who the characters are and where they came from.

Jun 15, Moktoklee added it. Pretty fun book, but I can't help but feel just a tad disappointed. I think I kind of went into the story expecting so much from the first book. I wanted this to expand on the first a little bit more than it did. Holes in the histories of certain characters were filled in like the lives of the Stepmother and Po-Po.

Other characters were developed that were only given passing mention in the first book, Jack and Jenny Chong are glaring examples. At first I didn't like the ending, but I've made my Pretty fun book, but I can't help but feel just a tad disappointed. At first I didn't like the ending, but I've made my piece with it. Kiam made his piece and I don't think he liked the ending either. Still, I would have liked the Meiying saga to have been expanded on a little bit more than it was, that was what I was waiting for for the entire book and then it just sort of came out of nowhere Despite this disappointment, I wouldn't have exchanged that for the Jack saga.

He was just too entertaining, the one knob white guy who just doesn't get when he's overstayed his welcome. While this was undeniably a good book, I wonder if I would rather read this book before or after the Jade Peony.

Aug 03, Peter B rated it really liked it. Author of the Jade Peony, this novel is apparently a sequel. It was not necessary to have read the prequel however. This story hangs together very well.


All That Matters

The Jade Peony told anecdotal tales from the perspective of three of the four Chen children: Liang, the Shirley Temple-obsessed only daughter; Jung, the once-abused adoptive second son, and Sek-Lung, or Sekky, the sickly third son. Neither sequel nor prequel, All That Matters runs chronologically parallel to the first novel, this time from the perspective of First Son Kiam-Kim, who appears as only a shadowy presence in The Jade Peony. Despite the fact that the concubine is referred to by all the Chen children — including the ones she eventually bears — as Stepmother, she is successfully integrated into the family. Like its predecessor, All That Matters creates a believable microcosm full of fascinating cultural and historical detail. Choy also does a masterful job of balancing the stories told in each novel against each other: what is only a passing observation by a sibling in one novel is fully realized in the second, and vice versa. Sometimes dialogue is repeated verbatim to emphasize a shared experience between characters.


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All That Matters is a novel by Wayson Choy. First published in by Doubleday Canada , it is the sequel to his debut novel , The Jade Peony , and was nominated for the Giller Prize. The story runs parallel to the events related in The Jade Peony. It is , and because of famine and civil war in China , they have left their village in Toishan province to become the new family of Third Uncle, a wealthy businessman whose own wife and son are dead. Like many families around them, they must survive in unsavoury surroundings. Since the closing down of the railroad work camps, Chinatown is filled with unemployed labourers who live in poor rooming-houses. Sea winds fill the rooms with acrid smoke from the mills and refineries of False Creek , and freight trains shake their windows at night with noises the Old One says are dragons playing.

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As he matures, he gains a stepmother, an adopted brother and two stepsiblings. Poh-Poh's unsettling stories of kitchen gods and ghosts provide vivid reminders of the Old China the family left behind. Set pieces form the novel's core, like Poh-Poh's elaborate preparations for her mah-jongg party when Kiam is eight. That's when he first encounters Jenny Chong, a "tiger" girl with a fierce temper and, eventually, the good looks to match it.

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