Finding Mr. Wong

by Susan Crean


Finding Mr. Wong, true to its title, chronicles the author’s search for Wong Dong Wong as she attempted to piece together his life beyond what she knew of him as a cook and housekeeper and her experience growing up in Mr. Wong's kitchen. Crean’s search for Mr. Wong took her to Chinatown in Vancouver and Toronto, and twice to Guangdong, China, where she located Wong’s home village, found descendants of his father's brother, and the story of his beginnings. (Orphaned within a few months of his birth, and brought to Canada by his uncle, Wong YeeWoen.) In writing his life Crean has combined fiction with historical recreations, and memoir. The section on the 1919 Chinatown riot in Toronto, for instance, was suggested by author Paul Yee. The saga of night-life in Chinatown came from historian Elise Chenier's work on lesbian history and culture. One sub-theme of the book concerns the relationship between children and servants (typically nannies) which Crean explores in literature and film. She looked particularly at instances when the alliance crosses race as well as class, and she relates her own experience grappling with racism as a small child. A second sub-theme is memory and its role in the writing and researching of a book such as this.

Member Reviews Write your own review

Be the first person to review

Log in to comment