Long for This World
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About the Author
-- Kate Walbert, author of "A Short History of Women" and "The Gardens of Kyoto"
A wonderful and eminently readable novel, rich in cultural understanding and emotional insight. Sonya Chung is an extremely talented writer.
-- Mary Yukari Waters, author of "The Favorites "and "The Laws of Evening"
The title of Chung's exquisite novel seems to be missing a word: ""not" long for this world" would be the easy, expected phrase. But little is easy or expected in this multilayered story of two brothers--one Korean and the other who chooses to become Korean American--and their scattered families, whose lives converge in a perfectly blended East/West house on a faraway Korean island. When Han Hyun-ku unexpectedly arrives at his younger brother's home, he is escaping an American life circumscribed by a detached wife and troubled son. His exhausted daughter, Jane, a renowned photojournalist of death and destruction, follows her missing father. Strangers that they are even among family, father and daughter are gratefully absorbed into a seemingly easy rhythm, but the temporary peace cannot ease inevitable tragedy. "Some people are not long for this world," Jane remarks. "The rest of us survive." VERDICT Readers who enjoyed superbly crafted, globe-trotting family sagas such as Kamila Shamsie's "Burnt Shadows", Naeem Murr's "The Perfect Man", or Changrae Lee's "A Gesture Life" will swoon over Chung's breathtaking debut. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, Washington, DC