The trick to reading Don Lee's wonderfully silly second novel (after Country of Origin and a story collection, Yellow) is to take nothing seriously, even when you should. The book concerns the eccentric sculptor-turned-brussels sprout farmer, Lyndon Song, and his estranged brother, Woody, an uptight Hollywood producer. Lyndon's refusal to sell his farmland to a golf course developer results in an unwelcome visit from his brother, who has been secretly hired by the developer. The author has corralled an array of misfits and minor characters-Lyndon's friend Juju, a philosophizing surfer with a prosthetic limb, and Yi Ling Ling, a has-been kung fu film star-to season the backdrop of the brothers' misadventures and muster up some drama and didactic spiritualism. The novel's best sections are lighthearted in their delivery, but hint at deeper substance and self-reflection. At times the author starts pulling too adamantly at readers' heartstrings, but before long he's back to slathering on the sarcasm. This novel thrives on unlikely unions, unseemly humor and happy endings while maintaining a constant examination of family and identity, in keeping with the themes of the author's previous book. (Apr.)
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The author of Yellow (2001) and Country of Origin (2004) delivers another warmly humorous take on identity in this entertaining novel featuring Lyndon Song, a sculptor turned brussels-sprouts farmer. In his youth, Lyndon made it to the top of the cutthroat art world in New York City but soon tired of the egos, politicking, and harsh criticism. He gave it all up to settle in Rosarita Bay, California, a sleepy, foggy town ideal for organic farming. But his low-key lifestyle is threatened when a developer decides to build a golf course and needs Lyndon’s land to complete his deal. Lyndon’s long-estranged brother, Woody, a disgraced financier turned movie producer, makes a secret deal with the developer to work on Lyndon, but their wild Labor Day weekend visit changes both of them in unforeseen ways. An eccentric cast of secondary characters, including a fading Hong Kong kung-fu star and a perpetually stoned surfer, adds to the merriment in a highly appealing novel that swerves ever so gracefully from rollicking humor to poignant moments of reflection. --Joanne WilkinsonSee all Editorial Reviews
I'm not sure that I should really review Wrack and ruin because I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I skimmed to the end. Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by Jill C Jones
The other reviewers are correct - the plot is quirky and unexpected, and the characters are far from what you expect, and it's definitely worthy of more than five stars. Read morePublished on February 5, 2010 by Maggie Caldwell
I'm amazed at the beauty in each of these characters. No saints, all sinners. All beautiful and flawed in their own ways, and each given a tiny bit of redemption. Read morePublished on May 31, 2009 by M. M. Benton
For the last several years, I've been searching for an author who can compare with TR Pearson's hilarious reflections on small town life--I think Don Lee may be it! Read morePublished on September 9, 2008 by NPOGuy