The Strength of Water
— An Asian American Coming of Age Memoir
by Karin K. Jensen
In 1920s Detroit, King Ying stands on a box to iron clothes in her parent’s laundry business and endures taunts of Ching-Ching Chinaman on the playground. She dreams of a home and the elegance of her Jane Arden paper dolls. But when her father incurs steep debts during the Great Depression, he sends her far from hope to live in his ancestral village.
In remote Tai Ting Pong in the Guangdong province of China, King Ying feels as foreign in the land of her heritage as she did in the country of her birth. There, she must survive hunger, deadly superstition, and Japanese invasion. When a guardian angel helps her return to California, it’s a chance to seize her American dream … if she can overcome mid-20th century racism, those who prey on the economically vulnerable, and her family’s toxic expectations about marriage.
In this debut memoir, Karin K. Jensen records her mother’s transpacific quest for identity, survival, and new world dreams. The Strength of Water is a work of Asian American history revealed through one’s family’s experiences.
Publication date: 25 November 2022
Format: Paperback (Demy octavo) 216mm x 138mm
Pages: 312 pp, with 11 photos