This critical study of Asian American literature discusses work by internationally successful writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Bharati Mukherjee, Gish Jen, Chang-Rae Lee and Amitav Ghosh, and situates them in a range of literary-cultural contexts. The focus of the book is on twentieth-century writing, particularly from the 1970s onwards, but it also traces the historical development of Asian American literature and discusses important earlier writers. Four central themes in Asian American culture are covered: beginning Asian American literature; ambassadorial literature; culture wars; and heterogeneity, hybridity, multiplicity. Each chapter offers a broad discussion of writers, concepts and approaches with case studies of key texts. Particular emphasis is placed on the critical reception of these writers, as they contribute to major debates in and around Asian American Studies. Works by Asian American writers are considered in relation to transatlantic literature, postcolonial theory, feminism and postmodernism. Key features*The first readily available introductory guide to Asian American literature. *Discusses a representative range of Asian American literature, providing a sense of the diversity of the field and of its key themes and modes of writing.*Links close reading of key texts with critical and theoretical approaches to Asian American literature. *Encourages reflection on questions of literary value, canonicity and the scope and purpose of literary studies.