Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review for "The Surrendered"

One of our customer reviewers, Kathleen Ivy, did this for us. The Surrendered will release March of next year. Look forward to it!

In The Surrendered, Chang-Rae Lee gives readers a gift of lucid prose exploring how individuals cope with the ravages of war and violence. Refusing to either romanticize the subject, or demonize the characters, Lee writes with fluid grace. He provides enough detail to allow a reader to have some substance to base their opinions upon, without giving so much as to lead readers to any particular conclusions. One can find both hope and despair within these pages, and each fully developed character contains the seeds of both hero and anti-hero, just like true human beings.

One of his characters, Sylvie, is a shining example of this. She is both a tireless worker, an adept comforter, a devoted wife and a woman who stumbles with cravings and caves into desires. One of her mentees, June, is also terribly flawed and achingly sweet. She worships Sylvie, works to please her, and finds herself adrift amid her own torn desires to live and to destroy herself. At one point she brings dinner to Sylvie, who is ill. She urges Sylvie to eat, but is convinced to share the meal, consuming most of it in her own natural hunger generated by self-deprivation. When June realizes what she has done she is so ashamed that she vomits her dinner, and feels more like the self she has become accustomed to –hollow and empty. It is a poignant moment, among hundreds of such moments contained in this masterful work.

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