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March 2010 Indie Next List
“Events of the Korean War slams into a young girl, a GI, and the wife of a missionary with a tragic ferocity, and their lives will intersect in Korea, changing them forever. Epic in its scope and beautifully written, ^The Surrendered^ begins in Korea and then moves to Manchuria, New Jersey, and Italy. What makes us who we are? Can cataclysmic events alter our sense of self beyond redemption? A powerful novel.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR
Read an essay by Chang-rae Lee here.
The bestselling, award-winning writer of "Native Speaker, A Gesture Life," and "Aloft" returns with his biggest, most ambitious novel yet: a spellbinding story of how love and war echo through an entire lifetime.
With his three critically acclaimed novels, Chang-rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction. Now, with "The Surrendered," Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works, and reads like nothing else. It is a brilliant, haunting, heartbreaking story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch.
June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner, the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything. Thirty years later and on the other side of the world, June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their past, and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together.
As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another. Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of "Native Speaker" and "A Gesture Life" with the broad range, energy, and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft, Chang-rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious, exciting, and unforgettable work yet. It is a mesmerizing novel, elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting.
About the Author
Chang-rae Lee is the author of "Native Speaker," winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction, "A Gesture Life," and "Aloft." Selected by "The New Yorker" as one of the twenty best writers under forty, Chang-rae Lee teaches writing at Princeton University.