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Riveting and unconventional, The Last Story of Mina Lee traces the far-reaching consequences of secrets in the lives of a Korean immigrant mother and her daughter
Margot Lee's mother is ignoring her calls. Margot can't understand why, until she makes a surprise trip home to Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. Determined to discover the truth, Margot unravels her single mother's past as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother, Mina.
Thirty years earlier, Mina Lee steps off a plane to take a chance on a new life in America. Stacking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing she expects is to fall in love. But that moment leads to repercussions for Mina that echo through the decades, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.
Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a powerful and exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.
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"Painful, joyous... A story that cries out to be told." --Los Angeles Times
"Kim is a brilliant new voice in American fiction." --Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
"Suspenseful and deeply felt." --Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Washington, Seattle. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, NPR/PRI's Selected Shorts, TheRumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers' Workshop's TheMargins, TheOffing, and elsewhere. The Last Story of Mina Lee is her first novel.