When the director of a boys' choir in Maine molests his young charges, the damage he inflicts spirals outward in ever larger circles. The novel's hero, Fee, a Korean-American teen-ager, is unable to separate what has been done to him from his own budding desire for a fellow-choirboy, and is thus unable to save his friend from the same fate. Years later, as a high-school teacher, Fee discovers that the choir director's son is one of his students. Chee has chosen difficult territory for his first novel, but by balancing its anguish with fantasy and Korean folk tales, he keeps a sad story from becoming maudlin.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
If a story about child molestation could ever be beautiful, this first novel comes very close to that unusual mark. Fee is a 12-year-old soprano in a boys choir in Maine. The choir director, however, is revealed to be a malicious pederast, who selects favorites from the choir and subjects them to frequent sexual abuse. The pain that Fee and his friends endure while growing up with this horrible fact, even after the director is imprisoned, is almost unfathomable. But Fee gets through it, although the dread stays with him all his life--through his self-destructive college days and as he courts a succession of lovers. Years later, as he begins teaching at a prep school, he encounters a beautiful student named Warden, the son of Fee's former choirmaster, who knows nothing of his father's deeds. Confronting this student, Fee is forced to contend with the demons of his boyhood and the very way he has lived his life. A spectacular, gripping, and gut-wrenching tale. Michael SpinellaCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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