📖: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1976)
🍸: silver bolt
Why this book?
The Woman Warrior holds a special place in my reading life. I first read it in college for an Asian American literature class, which introduced me to a world of #ownvoices stories that helped me feel seen for the first time.
In her book, Kingston recounts her upbringing as a Chinese American girl in California. Rereading it gave me a newfound appreciation for Kingston’s craft. Defying the bounds of memoir-writing, Kingston seamlessly blends fact and fiction – incorporating myths and fantastical images – to the point where I wasn’t sure how much of her stories were grounded in memory or pure imagination. I love that the book challenges me to consider whether there’s really a difference between what we remember and what we imagine.
Why this drink?
In the chapter “White Tigers,” Kingston as a young girl imagines herself becoming the great swordswoman, Hua Mulan, as a way to process her experiences growing up female and Chinese in the context of her family and community. In her/Mulan’s warrior training, she describes her ability to make a sword appear out of the sky, like a “silver bolt in the sunlight,” signaling her coming of age as a warrior woman.
So for this pairing, I made a silvery-gold drink in a stemless flute to emulate the shape of a sword. I also incorporated grapefruit and lychee flavors because these fruits make an appearance in Kingston’s book.
And speaking of Mulan 🧐 I want to learn more about other adaptations of her story and understand how it has evolved over time, so I’m planning to check out Lan Dong’s book Mulan’s Legend and Legacy in China and the United States.
For a quick reference to other versions of Mulan besides the new Disney film, check out this NYT article: “Mulan, a Most Adaptable Heroine: There’s a Version for Every Era.”
1 oz vodka
0.5 oz lychee liqueur
0.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1 tsp simple syrup
4 oz champagne
- combine all ingredients, except for the champagne, in a shaker and shake with ice
- strain into a stemless flute glass
- top off with chilled champagne
- garnish with a grapefruit twist
Another round, please! 🥂
You might also like:
Amy Tan’s The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life (2004)
Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
And check out these articles to learn more about the book and the writer:
- The Last Chinese American Woman Writer Who Hasn’t Read Maxine Hong Kingston, by Angela Chen, Electric Lit, Sept 19, 2017
- Maxine Hong Kingston’s Genre-Defying Life and Work, by Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, June 1, 2020