Aloft, by Chang-Rae Lee

September 19, 2008

Lee departs from an Asian protagonist and examines the life of the emotionally bankrupt Italian-American Jerry and the people who surround him. Lee applies new light to familiar themes of a past death of a close family member (his wife), father-son issues, a woman he loves who give up on him due to his lack of expressiveness, one thing that redeems the protagonist from his own emotional disability. To portray a somewhat frozen and unlikable main character is risky, but Lee’s deft language and exploration of our interior lives and universal human themes overcome the distance that the people who touch Jerry feel. This is Lee’s third novel (Native Speaker, A Gesture Life) and his fourth, The Surrendered will publish March 2010.

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