“Masticating Adrian Tomine” was originally published in American Book Review, volume 31, issue no. 1, page 12 (November/December 2009).
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is the title of a famous Joyce Carol Oates short story. The second half of the question marks my criterion for an essential Asian American literary text. By now, we have a long list of Asian American books that could be called essential, mostly because they fall under the part of the question that asks where Asian American literature has been. But since it is just as fruitful to ask where Asian American literature is headed, my pick is Adrian Tomine’s Summer Blonde (2002), a book not yet masticated by Asian American literary critics. Perhaps it never will be, but I think Tomine’s day to be chewed upon will come fairly soon. He has significant street cred as a comic artist, or a graphic writer, or a picture poet, and now has increasing mainstream visibility via his New Yorker covers.
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