A powerful, deeply expressive memoir ... "Orphan Bachelors"... isn’t always cohesive. Inspirations for classroom lectures sit alongside deep-seated thoughts about her relationship with her mother, for example. But if that’s the way Ng’s brain works, so be it. With her fiery prose and deeply informed, nuanced perspective on one of the most caustic, exclusionist eras in history, I’d follow her anywhere.
Luminous ... This family story will resonate with readers partly because of the crackle of its conflict but also because of the keen observations of its writer. Orphan Bachelors feels intimate and evocative, quiet rather than strident. Ng’s grace as a storyteller makes it possible to understand in one’s bones how heartless policy bends and misshapes lives for generations.
A luminous West Coast bookend to Ava Chin’s Mott Street, Ng’s book is not just a family portrait, but also a powerful remembrance of the “orphan bachelors” of San Francisco, single men who arrived from China and, segregated by race and class, never found spouses and grew old in one another’s company, never quite at home in a strange land. An exemplary study of the past brought into the present, spanning years and continents.