Rolling the R's by R. Zamora Linmark
Illuminated by pop fantasies, Donna Summer disco tracks and teen passion, the fiercely earnest characters in Rolling the R’s come to life against a background of burning dreams and neglect in a small 1970s Hawaiian community. In his daring first novel, R. Zamora Linmark treats the music of the Bee Gees and schoolyard bullying as equally formative experiences in the lives of a group of Filipino fourth-graders living in Kalihi, Honolulu, who call themselves the "Farrah Fawcett Fan Club." The characters’ stories unfold largely in the documentary detritus of their lives—their poems and prayers, book reports and teacher evaluations—all written in carefully observed, pitch-perfect vernacular. Now back in stock, Linmark’s tour-de-force experiments in narrative structure, pidgin and perspective roll every "are," throwing new light on gay identity and the trauma of cultural assimilation. Rolling the R’s goes beyond "coming of age" and "coming out" to address the realities of cultural confusion, prejudice and spiraling levels of desire in humorous yet haunting portrayals that are, as Matthew Stadler writes, "stylish, shameless and beautiful." This special twentieth anniversary edition includes a new essay by the author, introducing one of the most original and iconic stories of the Asian diasporic experience and an essential work of fiction in the Asian American literary canon.