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Native Speaker Paperback – March 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chang Rae Lee is clearly a man of acute depth and insights, and he eloquently represents distinctly different cultures, and the angst, disillusionment, and metamorphisis arising from survival that affects immigrants. He also probes fundamental issues of family, loyalty, betrayal, and the question of what constitutes success. While he employs Korean, and Korean American prototypes, his themes and issues are fundamentally human, but perhaps distinctly American.
Furthermore, Lee is a superb wordsmith and a beautiful writer, with a masterful command of the English language, which he skillfully and artistically, employs to convey his complex tale and profound concepts.
I was motivated to read this book when I read that this was the book that had been recommended by many as that which diverse, fractious, and iconoclastic NYC should claim as it's own in the trend for each of the nation's cities to focus on a book to read. However, this is an important book for all Americans, as it trully speaks to the American experience. I noted one review compared it to Ellison's "Invisible Man". While I think that it stands alone, if I were to compare it with other American classics they would instead be Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" and Richard Wright's "Native Son". I am very pleased that I chose to read this book; it is noble, touching, and important.
A pervading sense of something having gone wrong opens this book. The search for its cause and more details is the powerful driving force behind this intriguing first novel. Its finest characteristic, however, is the way in which the author expresses what it feels like to be an ethnic Korean growing up in America---the alienation, the anguish, the longing to be a necessary part of the wider culture. It addresses the dichotomy of two divergent cultures that must be embraced by the child of an American immigrant who strives to improve his station in life, the tension that exists between Asians and non-Asians who find themselves living and working side by side, and the intergenerational clash that often occurs between the immigrant generation and its children. NATIVE SPEAKER is an absorbing story and a welcome addition to any growing collection of Asian-American literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many fictions about the experiences of immigrants tend to evoke emotions, but his book is rather cerebral and analytical and very dark. Read morePublished 2 months ago by whj
This is a hugely overrated novel. I assume the publicity was caused by the fact that it probably had a groundbreaking effect at the time when it was first published, a few decades... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Witold
Precise and entertaining! As a native of Seoul, I understood and appreciated every line I read!
Excellent writing. More of a character study than a major plot work.Published 8 months ago by Anon author
If you like literature, this will work for you. If you want a plot-driven story, this will not ever work for you.Published 11 months ago by Pao C. Saechao
I rounded up on Stars. Really 2 1/2.
The book caught my attention - at the beginning, But by 87 pages (27%) in, I lost all care about the characters and the story was... Read more
as an ESOL teacher I found his description of how a non native speaker approaches speaking English fascinating. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ruth e. cohen