August 21, 2011

Marty Chan mixes fact and fable

I haven’t read a play in its entirety since high school, so I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Forbidden Phoenix by Marty Chan.

As I began reading, memories of the plays I had read in the past began to dance through my brain. Twelfth Night, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Romeo & Juliet had been my favourites, and suddenly I remembered...

Reading a play is actually quite fun.

The Forbidden Phoenix tells the tale of Sun Wukong, a man desperate to feed both his son and the drought-ravaged city of Jung Guo. Instead of being granted assistance by the Dowager Empress – the ruler of the land – Wukong is banished to the west where he faced opposition, hardship and heartless creatures.

The play is an allegory that combines a Chinese children’s fable with the real-life tragedy of early Chinese immigrants who came to Canada to help build the railroad. Throughout The Forbidden Phoenix, readers will encounter numerous references to the struggles the builders faced, including the danger of blasting through the Rocky Mountains.

Marty Chan is no stranger to writing, and in addition to The Forbidden Phoenix he had published a number of plays and children’s novels. He has also been producer, writer, director and talent for both television and radio. (For a full list of Chan’s credentials – which are much too extensive to list – click here).

Overall, The Forbidden Phoenix is an entertaining and comical read with a powerful message the reader won’t soon forget. Chan has combined fact and fable together in a way that is both effective and powerful. The Forbidden Phoenix is definitely worth reading and I highly recommend it, whether you’re skeptical about reading plays or not.

If you would like to check out Chan’s person website, click here. You can also check him out on Facebook here

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