The Surrendered

The Surrendered

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9781594489761
Branch Call Number: FICTION Lee Changra 03/2010
Characteristics: 469 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jul 04, 2013

DCBrunelle pretty much nails it, The only addition is who cares about any of the characters?

Aug 02, 2012

A book about the Korean War and its legacy, told through the story of three characters. Too long and American in its sensibility.

Apr 18, 2012

This was intense. First chapter grabs and pulls you in. I picked this up at 11 pm, ready to fall asleep - this brought me awake fast.

Dec 18, 2010

I wanted to like this book but did not. For the first 100 pages it seemed it might be worth the effort but I was mistaken.

The cover is designed such that the author's last name is three times the size of the title. This proved to be an early warning sign. Much to my regret, I chose to ignore it. Overall I thought the novel promised a fair amount more than it delivered.

Nearly every major character in this story turns out to be one of two types: the Noble Derelict or the Wounded Narcissist. This grows old about as quickly as it becomes unpleasant. They are thrown together in various combinations in an attempt to propel a plot about which I also did not ultimately care. Add to this writing which I found self-consciously styled - more awkward than erudite - and one is left with the easy decision to move on to other writers.


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