Chieng, Chieh 1975-
CHIENG, Chieh 1975-
PERSONAL: Born 1975, in Hong Kong (now part of China); immigrated to United States, c. 1982. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, graduated; University of California, Irvine, degree (creative writing).
ADDRESSES: Home—Orange County, CA. Agent—Dorian Karchmar, Lowenstein-Yost Associates, 121 W. 27th St., Ste. 601, New York, NY 10001.
A Long Stay in a Distant Land (novel), Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Glimmer Train, Threepenny Review, Antioch Review, and Santa Monica Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Chieh Chieng was born in the British territory of Hong Kong, and moved with his family to southern California at the age of seven. He attended the University of California at Irvine, graduating with a degree from that school's creative writing program. After publishing short fiction in a number of periodicals, Chieng's debut novel, A Long Stay in a Distant Land, was published in 2005.
Chieng mines his childhood experiences in fleshing out the major themes in A Long Stay in a Distant Land. The story follows three generations of the Lums, a Chinese-American family living in Orange County, California. Death seems to come easily to members of the Lum family, and this "curse" appears to date to Grampa Melvin enlisting in World War II, against the family's wishes. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the novel "charmingly eccentric and refreshingly unstereotypical," but also commented that it "still suffers a bit from its dibs and dabs construction, which can make the story feel too slick to be satisfying." Allison Block, reviewing Chieng's debut for Booklist, called the first effort "fearless" as well as "poignant, prickly, and deliciously absurd." Calling A Long Stay in a Distant Land "a promising debut," a Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that the author's "deadpan playfulness works for and against him: it draws the reader in at first, but then its brittleness gets in the way of full identification with his characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2005, Allison Block, review of A Long Stay in a Distant Land, p. 1060.
Dallas Morning News, May 12, 2005, review of A Long Stay in a Distant Land.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2005, review of A Long Stay in a Distant Land, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2005, review of A Long Stay in a Distant Land.
Publishers Weekly, March 28, 2005, review of A Long Stay in a Distant Land, p. 57.
Bloomsbury USA Web site, http://www.bloomsburyusa.com/ (May 3, 2005), "Chieh Chieng."