Wayson Choy, 80, Whose Books Are Windows on Chinese-Canadian Life, Dies

Wayson Choy, 80, Whose Books Are Windows on Chinese-Canadian Life, Dies

Mr. Choy, known as Sonny when he was young, grew up surrounded by an extended family that inspired the fictional one he created in “The Jade Peony.”

He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963, returned after a time to study creative writing and later taught remedial English at Humber College in Toronto for many years. He wrote little for decades, although an early work was selected for the 1962 edition of the anthology series “The Best American Short Stories.”

In 2004 Mr. Choy published “All That Matters,” a prequel to “The Jade Peony.”

He was appointed to the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor, the following year.

Mr. Choy had no immediate survivors, but as he wrote in “Not Yet,” he considered himself a part of two families, with whom he lived at different times: that of Karl and Marie Schweishelm and their daughter, Kate Schweishelm, in Toronto; and that of Gary and Jean Noseworthy and their daughter, Tosh Noseworthy, and son, Gary, in Caledon, Ontario.

“I had three wonderful godchildren to spoil,” Mr. Choy wrote in an exchange with readers in The Globe and Mail of Toronto in 2009. He added, “Truly, family is who loves you.”

The Schweishelms helped Mr. Choy to a hospital some years ago after he had a violent asthma attack. He spent 11 days heavily sedated and drifting in and out of consciousness, an episode he recounted in “Not Yet”:

“I lay like a mannequin, its stiff neoprene skull exposed and stuffed with questions: Did I say thank you? Am I wearing my new shirt? Is my hair combed? Then the life-saving monitors would hiss and pump, click and beep, and I would focus again on my own tenuous mortality.

Insane, I thought. I’m dying and worried about my hair.”

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