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Fiction Coming Of Age

Belinda's Rings

by (author) Corinna Chong

NeWest Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2013
Coming of Age, Asian American
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price

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Half-Asian teenager Grace (but she’d prefer it if you called her “Gray” instead) is dead set on becoming a marine biologist rather than being anything like her mother, Belinda. She’d leave that role to her sister Jess instead, who’s a supermon-in-the-making.

Belinda herself is somewhat obsessed as well, by crop circle books and imagery, and abruptly runs out on her family, flying across the Atlantic in order to study the real things in the English countryside. Grace and her sister are left alone to take care of the house, their rapidly-deteriorating stepfather and their peculiar brother, Squid.

Belinda’s Rings links together the coming of age of a young biracial woman with the mid-life crisis of her mother. With warmth, kindness and a boisterous sense of humour, Corinna Chong introduces us to two lovable and thoroughly original female protagonists: persnickety, precocious Grace, and her impractical, impulsive mother Belinda—very different women who nevertheless persistently circle back into each other’s hearts.

About the author

Calgary-born Corinna Chong is a writer, editor, visual artist and graphic designer based out of Kelowna, B.C. Her writing has appeared in Grain, NoD, Echolocation, and The Malahat Review. She is currently a professor of English Literature at Okanagan College and edits Ryga: A Journal of Provocations.

Corinna Chong's profile page

Excerpt: Belinda's Rings (by (author) Corinna Chong)


Excerpt from 1. Bathyspheres


Squid’s got three mothers who can’t spank him.

That’s what my stepdad Wiley used to say when Squid got into the goo. Back when he was a baby, you had anything gooey and Squid’d find it. Peanut butter, craft glue, ketchup, little bits of melted tar on the street—smeared all over his cheeks faster than you could say ‘fudge.’ That was code in our family for ‘Squid is covered in something gooey,’ except you had to yell it out, FUUUUUDGE, like a swear word. Mum doesn’t know that people say ‘fudge’ to mean another f-word, so sometimes I’d yell it right in her face to make Jess laugh. Jess never did it herself, squeezed her eyes shut like she was jumping off a building whenever she yelled fudge. She didn’t yell nearly half as loud as me, either.

The problem with spanking was that it didn’t work. Mum only tried it once, in the supermarket. I was there and remember it perfectly. She’d let him out of the shopping cart to toddle around. He was just little. Only a couple months before he’d still had that mini-drunk-person sort of walk that made me want to follow right behind him, holding out my arms, thinking he could topple over any second. By this time he’d gotten to the stage where we had to actually run after him ’cause he’d take off when you weren’t looking. But we were in the cereal aisle and we didn’t think he could do any damage, so we let him scamper around. He liked to punch the cereal boxes, the ones on the bottom shelves that no one wanted anyway. So he was punching, punching away, and every box he could reach was getting a punch, Squid made sure of that. Mum was looking at the generic brand of Frosted Flakes, the one that came in a big milky-coloured bag with no box, so most of the flakes were crumbled into powder.

Editorial Reviews


"Especially intriguing because of the ways [it plays] with and against the formal and thematic expectations of coming-of-age tales."
~ Elizabeth McCausland, Event


"It’s a novel about family members who, despite some wildly different frames of reference, keep searching for common ground."
~ Michael Hingston, The Edmonton Journal


"[a]s vibrant as it is original.”
~ Chad Pelley, The Globe and Mail


"A novel subtly charged with emotion, Belinda's Rings is unmistakably a noteworthy read."
~ Rebecca Geleyn, The Fiddlehead


"Ostensibly, it’s about a mother, father, and three children. But the novel is also about the power of imagination, and the fictions we maintain about ourselves, in order to keep on being the people we are."
~ Yasuko Thanh, The Coastal Spectator


"Chong's talent is undeniable … her future in CanLit is assured."
~ Dana Hansen, Quill & Quire

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