David H.T. Wong

Early Chinese immigrants made no distinction between Canada and the United States when traveling to "Gold Mountain," their colloquialism for North America. In David H.T. Wong's graphic novel Escape to Gold Mountain (Arsenel, $19.95), racial prejudice knows no borders, either. Accessible in a way that dry history textbooks are not, his account covers the hardships of Chinese-Canadians (and -Americans) over the span of 150 years. Although the comic-book format makes some serious moments darkly funny, one reads with horror about atrocities once commonplace in ourbackyard. Did you know that Chinese hop farmers were slaughtered in their tents in Issaquah? Or that, also in 1885, Tacoma's Chinatown was burned to the ground by racists, giving the name "Tacoma Method" to similar scare-tactics across the nation? These often-untold tales add gravity to an already somber account inspired by the Vancouver, BC author's own family history. JEVA LANGE

Thu., Jan. 24, 7 p.m., 2013

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