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Native Speaker de Chang-Rae Lee
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Native Speaker (1995 original; edició 1996)

de Chang-Rae Lee

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,2552111,737 (3.73)33
Korean-American Henry Park is a "surreptitious, B+ student of life, illegal alien, emotional alien, yellow peril: neo-American, stranger, follower, traitor, spy ..." or so says his wife, in the list she writes upon leaving him. Henry is forever uncertain of his place, a perpetual outsider looking at American culture from a distance. As a man of two worlds, he is beginning to fear that he has betrayed both -- and belongs to neither.… (més)
Membre:vampiregirl
Títol:Native Speaker
Autors:Chang-Rae Lee
Informació:Riverhead Trade (1996), Paperback, 368 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Native Speaker de Chang-Rae Lee (1995)

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» Mira també 33 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 20 (següent | mostra-les totes)
If I were to evaluate this book purely on its literary merit, this is pr0bably closer to a three. But this book also touches on a lot of themes that I personally connect with, it tells of the distance created by the dynamics of an Asian immigrant father and Asian-American son. It tells of the uneasy identity formation of someone that does not truly feel at home in their language(s), that sometimes feels more like two half-languages that one awkwardly shifts between. And it kind of acknowledges the violence done to Asian men by other minorities without settling into racist vitriol as self-defense.

Overall, in interesting exploration of the East Asian (very male) immigrant experience, the practical effects of Confucian social ordering, and language and identity juggling. I don't care really care about spying and detective thriller. Maybe a bit more obsession with sleeping with white women than I prefer. I guess all of that is related to East Asians being able to accomodate and blend in to society. I learned a bit about myself through this book, even if it wasn't the greatest of books from an objective point of view. ( )
  tonberrysc | Aug 20, 2021 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14015566

A fascinating story of a Korean-American trying to navigate in both worlds. We tend to think that people whose parents are from another country can easily become "Americans" in all ways when they are born and raised in this country. But the traditions of the other society are still a part of the man. Traditions involve more than rituals or even physical acts, but include ways of thinking and doing.

So it is with Henry Park's father, who starts a "savings club" of sorts. With fellow Koreans he raises large amounts of money: each contributes a set amount every month, and one person gets to take the total. Every month (or is it week?) a different person gets the pot. Thus are many people able to obtain a large amount of cash to start a business or send a child to college or whatever they need. Sort of like a credit card without the horrendous interest.

Henry, meanwhile, falls into an unusual job. A type of spying, where he is assigned a person to investigate. He learns everything he can about the person, using whatever means are necessary. In the bulk of this book he is investigating a Korean politician. To get close to him he volunteers for his campaign and rises up the ladder. To what purpose? The investigators might guess but are not told why. What if he's investigating this person so that others might destroy him? Because his background as a Korean-American gives him special access, is he betraying his culture? His family?

These questions, along with those related to his marriage to a white woman, make for interesting thoughts. A good story with thoughtful undertones. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I have very complicated feelings about this. On the one hand, there were a lot of things about this that really interested me and that I really enjoyed. On the other hand, this was such a slog to get through and I never wanted to pick it back up whenever I put it down - hence it taking me three weeks to finish this. ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |

There is a lot to like here.

Deeply reflective, thoughtful, informative and well written. Not so much a page turner as something to sink into and enjoy. Technically it's a spy novel, but that's mostly just setting. The focus is largely on language, politics, identity and the experience of immigrants into the U.S..

( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
A challenging, poignant novel about the impossibility of knowing ourselves and others. Upends conventional narratives about the immigrant experience and assimilation in the United States. The narrator, a second-generation Korean American named Henry Park, works as a undercover agent for a corporate espionage agency, and is assigned to shadow a New York politican named John Kwang. His work with Kwang is in the tradition of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, as the layers of idealism he associates with the politician slowly fall away over the course of the novel. A parallel narrative follows Henry's slow reconciliation with his wife Lelia, from whom he was estranged after the accidental death of their son. So many layers here. I really loved re-reading this, and the graduate students I taught it too were on fire with ideas. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 19, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 20 (següent | mostra-les totes)

In ‘Moedertaal’, Chang-Rae Lee’s meesterlijke debuut uit 1996, beschrijft de auteur de aarzelende pas van de eerste-generatiemigrant die door de straten van New York schuifelt. Bespiegelingen over taal als verraderlijk mijnenveld en de versnipperde identiteit van de nieuwkomer leidden bij Lee niet tot dorheid, wel tot bevreemding. Bovenal was ‘Moedertaal’ een hartverscheurend liefdesverhaal en een spannende detective die Lee grote prijzen als de American Book Award opleverde. Lee, die samen met zijn ouders op driejarige leeftijd vanuit Seoul naar New York verhuisde, laat zijn personages graag toekijken vanaf de zijlijn. Het zijn buitenstaanders die zich niet kunnen of willen werpen in de modder en het gewoel. Soms, zoals in ‘Een leven van gebaren’, verdringen ze hun gedachten aan een tijd waarin ze niet anders konden dan deelnemen, in dit geval aan een leven in oorlogstijd.
 
Maar als hij de opdracht krijgt om te infiltreren in de organisatie van de opkomende Koreaans-Amerikaanse politicus John Kwang, raakt hij verstrikt in een identiteitscrisis met verstrekkende gevolgen.

In dit debuut zijn alle thema's, die in zijn tweede roman zo harmonieus samenkomen al volop aanwezig: het zoeken naar een identiteit tussen twee culturen, de kracht van het verleden en de centrale rol van de taal als voertuig van een cultuur. De bespiegelingen die Lee daaraan wijdt, zijn op zich interessant genoeg, maar komen niet helemaal uit de verf omdat ze ingekaderd zijn in een spionageverhaal dat maar niet van de grond wil komen. Dat weerhield enkele toonaangevende literaire bladen er overigens niet van hem naar aanleiding van dit debuut uit te roepen tot een van de veelbelovendste jonge Amerikaanse schrijvers
 
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The day my wife left me she gave me a list of who I was.
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Korean-American Henry Park is a "surreptitious, B+ student of life, illegal alien, emotional alien, yellow peril: neo-American, stranger, follower, traitor, spy ..." or so says his wife, in the list she writes upon leaving him. Henry is forever uncertain of his place, a perpetual outsider looking at American culture from a distance. As a man of two worlds, he is beginning to fear that he has betrayed both -- and belongs to neither.

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Mitjana: (3.73)
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