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Tea That Burns

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In January of 1879, Hor Poa left his native China and headed for the United States, setting off a chain of events that would lead to Bruce Edward Hall, his half-Chinese, half-white great-grandchild, who would write a book on New York’s Chinatown and his father’s family. Hall, whose father changed the family name from “Hor” to “Hall,” set out to recreate the sights, sounds, and smells of New York’s Chinatown, from its beginning, through the years of opium dens and Tong wars, to its present, when it no longer is the heart of Chinese American culture.

Hall presents an excellent history of details, filled with colorful characters and snapshots of daily life—from the crowded living conditions...

(The entire section is 239 words.)