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Culture » Culture Features

Author! Author!

Literary series welcomes Lisa See

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Lisa See is looking forward to coming to Bend to talk about her latest and past books on Thursday, Feb. 25 as a part of the Author! Author! Literary Series put on by the Deschutes County Library. For $25, readers and enthusiasts alike can experience a rare look inside the mind of a best-selling author. See has written many hits such as "China Dolls," "Dragon Bones" and "Shanghai Girls," just to name a few. It's easy to see that See has a theme, a rather unique one, and unexpected. This French-born, American-raised, author writes (mostly) from a Chinese-born perspective.

See, like so many Americans, doesn't come from a strictly Anglo background. Her great-great-grandfather came from a tiny town in the Guangdong Province called Dimtao. He was the first of the family to make the long journey to the States. Soon her great-grandfather, Fong See, joined his father in Sacramento when he was just 14. The author points out that her family did a lot of jobs that immigrants do even today. He worked in fields, washed dishes in restaurants, and swept up in factories. In other words, they did what work they could. Fong See eventually found success in running his own business, which happened to be a crotchless underwear factory providing the easy-access garments that were apparently all the rage back in the 1880s. Hey, the market wants what the market wants.

Author See talks about how her family was not only of Chinese decent, but also has roots right here in Oregon. Letticie Pruitt, from Central Point, Ore., was one of four wives that Fong See took on. The marriage between Pruitt and See, however, was against the law in California, where they lived, and 28 other states including Oregon, where Chinese and Caucasians were not allowed to marry. Her family worked around this and found a lawyer who was willing to create a legal partnership via contract. From early on the See Family not only made due, but also made the best of what they had in front of them.

Background and blood are not See's only connection to Chinese culture. Her husband's business brought them to mainland China in 1995. Growing up she had heard stories and had been around the culture and people, but when she could actually experience what her family had been telling her all along, she became enamored. This is what she would write about. This had become her world.

Lisa See pours her knowledge, experience and everyday life into her stories and characters, sharing a unique and personal perspective of Chinese culture with readers.

Author! Author! Lisa See

Thu., Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Bend High School, 230 NE Sixth St., Bend

$25.

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