Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chang-rae Lee Coming to Albany

Chang-rae Lee, prize-winning Korean-American novelist and one of the leading fiction writers of his generation, will speak about his epic novel of the Korean War, "The Surrendered" (2010), at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 8, 2010, in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on UAlbany's uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. Sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, the events are free and open to the public.

Lee, whose work explores the modern Asian and Asian-American experience, received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for his first novel, "Native Speaker" (1995), and was named one of the "20 Best American Novelists Under 40" by the "New Yorker" in 1999.

Lee's new novel is "The Surrendered" (2010), the epic story of a Korean orphan, an American GI, and a troubled missionary wife who meet during the immediate aftermath of the Korean War. The novel is loosely inspired by stories of death and survival among members of the author's own family, told reluctantly to Lee by his father who fled the shelling of Pyongyang at the age of twelve.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, "Powerful, deeply felt, compulsively readable and imbued with moral gravity, the novel does not peter out into easy redemption. It's a harrowing tale: bleak, haunting, often heartbreaking-and not to be missed." "O." the Oprah Magazine, called it, "A landmark novel about love and war. . . impossible to put down."

Writing in "Elle," novelist Kate Christensen described the book as, "Beautiful, riveting, piercingly haunting . . . The settings and times are masterfully interwoven to form an elegant, disturbing inquiry into courage, love, loyalty, and mercy. . . . This is a book to read in two or three long sittings, gulping pages, turning them as fast as possible to reach the perfect, inevitable ending."

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