Disappearing Moon Cafe

Historic novels are very important for understanding history in a more involved way other than reading textbooks, for more reasons to why reading historic fictions are important, click here.

In class, we were to read the historic novel Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee.  This novel revolves around the Chinese immigrants that came to Canada. The story follows a long family chain of Chinese Canadians. The story starts as a prologue with Wong Gwei Chang as a bone collector from China to collect the bones from the men who died during making the railroad.  The story goes on explaining the story of Wong Gwei Chang’s family through the eyes of his great great granddaughter, Kae Ying Woo. This Chinese family goes through many problems and twisted relationships.  For chapter summaries click here.

My opinion :

I liked this novel because it did have some connection to me. I am a Chinese born Canadian just like the many characters in the novel. I made many connections to the novel because I understand how some of the characters feel for example Fong Mei. Fong Mei like many traditional Chinese woman kept their feelings to themselves.  Though I do find the story weird because there were alot of messed up relationships, but I think this really happens because of all those miscommunications and misunderstandings. The book creates and environment which makes you understand the lifestyle of the Chinese much easier than reading a textbook. In the book you understand the importance and the pressure of giving birth to children. It gives you a perspectives of the authorities of men and women. It also makes you understand what were relationships like whether family, romantic or friendships. Romantic love was not a choice in marriage, thus many people had affairs.

Connection to Canada:
This novel reflects what we learned about in class on the Chinese immigrants. We learned that Chinese immigrants came to Canada to work on the railroad and then stayed in Canada due to not being able to get back to China. These Chinese immigrants came together and formed communities like Chinatown. When we went to Chinatown for a tour and saw many places that Disappearing Moon Cafe had taken place in. In the story they also mentioned many times about the Janet Smith murder case which actually happened in Chinatown. In the story you will find a lot of discrimination and racism. The Chinese had to pay head tax in order to come to Canada .

By reading historic fiction, it can give you many benefits like improving critical think skills, but most of all you can understand more about Canada by learning more about the different kinds of people in Canada because Canada is a multicultural society. We need to appreciate how much Canada has gone through to become a multicultural society.


Lee, Sky. Disappearing Moon Cafe. Seattle, WA: Seal, 1991. Print.


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