You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well - how can you put this delicately? - a loser.
You can't speak English, but that doesn't stop you from working at East Meets West, your father's gift shop in a strip mall, where everything is new.
Don't be surprised that the book ignores the youthful angst of David's school experiences; this novel is aimed at adult readers, although teens may become engrossed in it as well. Instead, the stories revolve around the small world of Peddlers Town and those who work there, ordinary people at an unremarkable shopping mall who became special to me as Woo unfolded their unique struggles. (Reviewed by Beth Hemke Shapiro).
Christian Science Monitor - Yvonne Zipp
Woo’s novel has a tenderness underlying the humor and his characters are complicatedly human... the emotions and sheer messiness of the Kims’ home life will resonate with anyone in possession of a relative.
[A] charming tale of family, community and the struggle for understanding... Woo's text strikes a true chord.
School Library Journal
Woo imbues the story, like others in the collection, with David's overall sense of confusion about this man's American ways. With a mix of humor and drama, Everything Asian makes a fine addition to recreational reading lists.
Sharp, immediate … captures the contemporary immigration struggle, but it is also an elemental family drama of fury and tenderness.
Starred Review. Cleverly concatenated stories about the experience of Korean immigrants make up Woo's loosely structured novel ... a novel that both delights and instructs.
Stewart O’Nan, author of Songs for the Missing.
In its clear-eyed take on family and community, Everything Asian is Everything American. The proprietors of this roadside New Jersey shopper's village are by turns dreamy and despairing as their fortunes - like the local economy - change. Sung J. Woo has crafted a debut rich in character and event.
A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and Blue Water.
A tender, funny, beautifully written novel-in-stories, each a sparkling step in the coming-of-age journey of a boy straddling two cultures with remarkable humor and grace. First-time author Sung Woo has created both lasting characters and a timeless portrait of a community.A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and Blue Water.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Louise J Beautiful, Gentle & Sweet!! I loved this story!! Young David Kim immigrates to the United States from Korea in the 1980’s with his mother and sister. Their father has already been in America for the past five years trying to build a business and getting some money behind... Read More
100 Years of Korean Immigration
In 2008 there were more than 1.3 million people of
Korean ancestry living in the United States, making
Koreans the fourth largest group of Asian Americans,
after Asian Indians, Chinese and Filipinos. As of
2000, roughly one-third of Korean Americans had been
born in the United States, one-third are U.S.
citizens born in Korea, and one-third are
The first wave of Korean immigrants came to harvest
sugar on the Hawaiian Islands at the turn of the
twentieth century, long before Hawaii became the 50th state. These migrants were part of
a larger group of Asians who made the trans-Pacific
voyage to work in the US and Latin America, often
finding difficult and repressive conditions in the
agricultural sector. Few other Koreans
migrated to the United States in the first half of the
twentieth century, because of race-based laws that
excluded most Asians. Some...
A moving, realistic, but always hopeful narrative novel of the Wu family - father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao - as they fully sever their ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and begin a new, free life in the United States.
Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.
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