With this 1996 debut novel, Chang-rae Lee entered the pantheon of literary best-sellers. Part mystery, part spy story, part immigrant experience, the story examines the character and identity of Henry Park. With this character, Lee begins his theme of studying the externally remote, yet internally tortured man—one who is haunted by trauma or tragedy in the past, most often relating to events in Korea. The complexity of this novel, combined with Lee’s signature muscular prose and precision sentences, have made it a continued excellent read.
Secondhand World by Katherine Min
Written in short-short (2-3 pages) chapters with beautiful precision, stirring imagery, emotional depth and a compelling sense of imminent tragedy (opens with her in a burn ward, both parents dead), the story charts silences in a death-quieted household and the resulting isolation of all three family members.
Book Review of Krys Lee’s “Drifting House”
Krys Lee’s lyrical collection of stories resists being summarized and remains memorable after reading. As a poet and fiction writer, Lee is both vibrant and restrained with detail; she neither exaggerates nor depicts sentimental reactions from her characters mired in tragic situations.
Book Review of Matthew Salesses’ “The Hundred Year Flood”
It is a story that is steered in subtle yet powerful ways by the psychological effects of adoption yet flawlessly transcends being pigeonholed into the adoption literature category.
Adoptee Voices Reading Video Collection: September 2015
These are videos recorded of the speakers presenting at the Korean American Adoptee Voices Book Reading, which took place at the Korea Society on September 17th, 2015.
Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
Catherine Chung’s acclaimed debut novel (a Booklist Starred Review, among other terrific press) earns its accolades with elegant prose and a story of an immigrant family.
This Burns My Heart, by Samuel Park
The story explores how a fateful choice colors a decade of marriage, and challenges a young woman’s ambition already constrained by traditional Korean culture.
A Ricepaper Airplane, by Gary Pak
From a hospital bed a dying man unfolds the tale of an arduous life on the fringes of a Hawai’i sugar plantation in the 1920s.
The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y. K. Lee
Among the highlights of Lee’s debut novel are the two periods the story is told within—early 1950s and the onset of Japan’s occupation in the 1940s—and the wonderful setting of Hong Kong.
The Queens of Ktown by Angela Mi Young Hur
Told from the vantage point of the main character Cora, at age 16 and in her late 20s, the themes of this story are familiar.