An unflinching portrayal of the Korean immigrant experience from an extraordinary new talent in fiction.
Spanning Korea and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, Krys Lee's stunning fiction debut, Drifting House, illuminates a people torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.
In the title story, children escaping famine in North Korea are forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to survive. The tales set in America reveal the immigrants' unmoored existence, playing out in cramped apartments and Koreatown strip malls. A makeshift family is fractured when a shaman from the old country moves in next door. An abandoned wife enters into a fake marriage in order to find her kidnapped daughter.
In the tradition of Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker and Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Drifting House is an unforgettable work by a gifted new writer.
Lee reminds readers (with a welcome absence of nihilism) that hardship is worth paying attention to, not just for the empathy it draws forth, or for the strength found in characters who manage to come out on the other side, but for its ability to connect people across time and cultures. Especially recommended for fans of stories with a variety of younger narrators. (Reviewed by Karen Rigby).
Starred Review. The limpid, naturalistic prose and the flawless internal logic of these stories are reminiscent of the best of Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers.
Starred Review. Lee writes with a clarity and simplicity of style that discloses deep and conflicting emotions about cultural identity.
Starred Review. Readers in search of exquisite short fiction beyond their comfort zone - groupies of Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) and Yoko Tawada (Where Europe Begins) - will thrill to discover Lee's work.
Janice Y. K. Lee, author of New York Times bestselling The Piano Teacher
What wonderful and haunting worlds Krys Lee illuminates - a goose for a goose father, a sympathetic wife made bold by her husband's infidelity - all facets of a Korea and a Korean America made new by this exciting writer's entrancing vision.
Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Failure
Sometimes, with luck, passion, and great skill, fiction accomplishes things nothing else can, things of magical and abiding significance. Krys Lee's debut story collection is such a book. Drifting House is important for its heartbreaking depiction of the often horrifying plight of North and South Korean immigrants struggling to find dignity and self-definition in their new lives. It introduces us to a subject as old as human struggle itself, and a powerful new writer of highly lyrical gifts.
Located on the southern half of the Korean peninsula between the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, South Korea (or, officially, The Republic of Korea) is a democratic country approximately the size of Indiana. It was created in 1948, after the second World War, following a lengthy period of annexation and occupation by the Japanese. South Korea's capital, Seoul, is believed to have been originally established as Wiryeseong by the Baekje (18 BCE - 660 CE), one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, though it has held other names. The city is now a global metropolis and major financial center consisting of twenty-five gu (districts with their own governments that are divided into neighborhoods).
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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