J's Reviews > Drifting House

Drifting House by Krys Lee
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from December 16 to 19, 2011

There were many different characters introduced at different points in time...some were post-war, some modern Korean Americans, and although all of their identity stories were quite different, they are all presented with incredible difficulties and heartache. Several of these stories were very well written, but at the end when something "big" transpires it almost seems as the ending does not belong to the same narrative thread.

Character development is something Lee is very good at creating both archetypes (patriarchal male, subservient wife, dutiful children), and she has also created some rebels (the wife in the drifting house; the shaman family in At the End of the World). I truly cared about many of these characters, particularly the children.

My personal favorite was the Salaryman for the gut-wrenching nature of money lost is having in our current society, although I was thrown by Lee's narrative decision to have the story told in the second person. It made this story stick out like a sore thumb.

I wanted to love this book and hoped that it would be a true exploration of Korean-American culture. While I did find some of that here I also found sensationalistic endings that brought the stories far beyond what their limits should have been. I think alienation could have been handled just as hauntingly without including incest or murder. For this reason I could not remain glued to this book and I found it very difficult to finish. That said, I have rated this complete work a three but there were some five star stories in here most notably, A Temporary Marriage and At the Edge of the World.
I am looking forward to hearing more from Krys Lee.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free through the GoodReads First Reads giveaway.
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12/17 page 72
04/22 marked as: read

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