Recently, Krys Lee’s Drifting House came to my attention. Lee is a Seoul-based author whose stories are set in Korea and the US; her work “explores love, identity, war, and the homes we make for ourselves.” Here’s the publishers synopsis of Drifting House:
Lee portrays nuanced, haunting characters struggling with war, religion, and the secrets and complexities of damaged families. She illuminates the difficulties of living an unmoored existence in America and she traverses the collective sorrow brought on by a legacy of political strife. Weaving intricate tales of family and love, abandonment and loss, in Korea and the US, Lee’s deeply moving stories are about people whose lives are threatened by civil war, military dictatorships, and the psychological fallout that tore Korea apart for decades.
In the title story, “Drifting House,” children escaping famine in North Korea are forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to survive. In “The Salaryman” a middle class, middle-aged man toils in the wake of South Korea’s financial crisis, and in “The Goose Father” a man deserted by his family stumbles upon love unexpectedly. “A Small Sorrow” tells of the confidence and inspiration to control her life that a painter gains after striking up a friendship with one of her husband’s many lovers.
In America, the stories are set against the backdrop of the cramped, shared apartments and vacant strip malls of Koreatowns, where makeshift families are cobbled together from fragmented pasts to forge new identities.
In turns tragic, powerful, and hopeful, Drifting House is a collection that will linger with you long after you have finished reading it.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The settings, the struggles … the favorable comparisons to Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies …
The publisher, Viking/Penguin, has generously offered one giveaway copy to a lucky reader of She Is Too Fond of Books. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below; this post will be open for entries until midnight ET on Thursday, February 9, at which time a winner will be drawn at random. Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only.