‘The Price of Eggs in China’ by Don Lee

I tell everyone I teach writing to about this story. It really has everything I love in short fiction – a completely gripping protagonist whose perspective is conveyed in a close, often sly third-person (Dean); a unique and wholly convincing take on race; a send-up of white publishing gatekeepers (who aren’t characters in the story, but figure in the tale indirectly); and (perhaps most importantly) a dissection of the frenemy status of women of the color, the tension between sisterhood and competition because of how publishing sets up the only one story model of ethnic literature that has so rightfully been criticized by writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Also – and this may be the key component – it has the right kind of, very smart happy ending and gets me with the little flavoring of sentiment I love (that I also look for when I read commercial fiction). 

Published in Yellow, Norton, 2001

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