Far made a living for herself by writing articles and essays for numerous newspapers and magazines such as the Montreal Daily Star, Montreal Witness, Dominion Illustrated, Los Angeles Express, Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, The Independent (NY), and New England Magazine. In spite of chronically poor health and a limited command of the Chinese language, she managed to travel all over the North American continent and communicate with Chinese American communities in Boston, New York, Montreal, and San Francisco, earning her a reputation as a well-respected reporter for the growing Chinese American community.
In her essays, Far describes her often painful struggle to come to terms with her identity as a bi-racial woman in a culture rife with anti-Chinese sentiment. “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of a Eurasian” (Independent, Jan. 21, 1909) is her most well-known classical essay. Her writing is deeply personal and she tells her story with a well-crafted sense of irony.
Far was a pioneer, a voice for a people who were forced into relative silence by the cultural norms of the era in which she wrote. She never married or had children and died on April 7, 1914, two years after the publication of her most famous collection of fiction and nonfiction, Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings. (Clare Herlihy)
I look back over the years and see myself so keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering that it is almost a pain to live.
Patrick Madden's New Book
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Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.