Hua Hsu: A Floating Chinaman

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*This episode originally aired on February 8th, 2017

As an English professor and Asian American writer, Hua Hsu found fascination with cultural appropriation that existed before the Asian American social reference and the idea of first person perspective stories being lost in the archives of American history. In his book A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure across the Pacific, Hsu recounts the life of 1930s actor H.T. Tsiang who came to Hollywood seeking an fame on-screen. But after the wild societal success of author Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth deemed her the American resource on all things Chinese, Tsiang wrote from the perspective of his own experience as a Chinese man and tried voraciously to publish his books to no avail. Today, Elvis and Hsu discuss H.T. Tsiang's outlook and publishing methods that were ahead of his time and the ways his standing in Hollywood both helped him and hurt him in his literary quest.




  • Hua Hsu - staff writer at the New Yorker, author of the memoir “Stay True” - @huahsu


Blake Veit