The Price of Eggs in China Critical Overview
by Don Lee

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Critical Overview

(Short Stories for Students)

After it was initially published in the Gettysburg Review, “The Price of Eggs in China” was chosen as one of the winners of the Pushcart Prize, and was subsequently included in the anthology The Pushcart Prize XXVI: Best of the Small Presses 2002. Yellow, the collection by Lee that includes this story, won the 2002 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection.

Because Lee’s ethnic background is connected to the subject matter of the stories in Yellow, it is not surprising that the book received much attention from the Asian-American press. Andrew Sun, of the website Asiaweek.com, notes that “Yellow is mature and complex in its emotional dynamics. The tales are elegant, almost Chekhovian meditations on people trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.” A review at the similarly named AsianWeek.com site focuses on “The Price of Eggs in China” in particular, and concludes that “Lee’s stories are utterly contemporary, incredibly California, but grounded in the depth of beautiful prose and intriguing storylines.”

Beyond the Asian-American press, however, Yellow received national attention, with favorable reviews in many major media sources. Publishers Weekly tagged it as one of the most important short story collections of 2001, advising potential buyers that “This appealing collection shouldn’t be relegated to Asian Studies shelves” at libraries and bookstores. In the New York Times Book Review , writer Will Blythe observes that Lee “proves himself a worthy practitioner of realistic fiction in the vein of writers like Richard Yates and Andre Dubois. His narratives...

(The entire section is 398 words.)