Filthy Fictions addresses Asian American literature by women to explore and explode the sedimented and solidified meanings we have created about 'Asian Americans' and 'dirt' through dialogues that not only cross disciplinary and institutional formations and borders, but also question the very borders and territories upon which these arguments may be founded. Expertly questioning the construction of the ethnic body, the book discusses critical discourses in ethnic and feminist studies around the topic of identity (re)production and transnational representation.
In focusing on dirt as a unifying metaphor, Filthy Fictions productively advances our understanding of the processes of racial formation and its enmeshing with sexual difference. Monica Chiu pushes the topic in often unexpected directions: not its literal appearance as trash or contaminant, but as sexual impurity, bestiality, food taboos, and hypochondria. In theorizing race as pathology, her book creates a ground-floor discussion of the political investments of a number of noncanonical Asian American texts. In the end, her concern is not really about filth, but about the transformation of 'nature' into culture and the violence that attends that transformation.--Leslie Bow, University of Wisconsin, Madison