"The Jade Peony" by Wayson Choy is set in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 1930s and 40s and examines the clash of cultures and generations in an immigrant family in the context of three coming-of-age stories. The novel is divided into three sections, each of which follows one of the siblings in a Chinese-Canadian family.
The first section follows Jook-Liang, the sister who wants to follow dreams of stardom by studying tap dance, despite her grandmother's disapproval. She gains self-esteem but, in growing up, learns that not all dreams can be achieved.
The second section follows the adopted son, Jung-Sum. He is handsome and talented as a boxer; while training he discovers an unexpected attraction to his boxing coach.
The third section is narrated by Sek-Lung, the youngest of the three. He explores the world of fantasy through war games and creating wind chimes with his grandmother and comes up against the harsher realities of the real world during an expedition with a babysitter to the Japanese neighborhood.