- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 17, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393062325
- ISBN-13: 978-0393062328
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,921,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Wrack and Ruin: A Novel Hardcover – April 17, 2008
Rare Books by Legendary Authors
Discover collectible books by legendary authors on AbeBooks, an Amazon Company. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Wilkinson
Top customer reviews
The main character is a recluse, a once successful artist who walked away from the art scene and just wants to be left alone to deal with his failing farm, his hapless relationships with women, and an irksome scheming brother who won't leave him alone. A number of other quirky characters come together in a melting pot of a plot that can only be described as whacky, while nonetheless making some salient points about love, ambition, and the importance of following dreams.
I'm surprised the novel wasn't more successful; it really deserves a wider audience. I would give it 4 1/2 stars if I could.
I love Brussels sprouts. I was totally charmed by the prominence of Brussels sprouts in Lee's story. I love stories that pull random imagery to carry a storyline. I learned a great deal from "Wrack and Ruin": about small organic farms, about the art world, about film production, about chocolate, about bartending, about saving endangered wetlands.
It has been several weeks since I finished reading "Wrack and Ruin". I almost can't imagine a harder book to review. If a novel could be explained as an exploration of identity - racial, national, sexual, etc. - this book seems almost to be an exploration of nonidentity: take away race, nation, gender, and what is left? What makes us do what we do and feel what we feel? We love, hate, create and destroy, and all those things spring out of places far deeper than skin color, language and genitalia.
What is lovely to me about "Wrack and Ruin" is how subtly Lee weaves profundity into his story. There are amazingly crafted sentences and paragraphs, that not only carry the story along, but also suggest that Lee is doing something more.
Part of the marketing campaign has it compared to popular "Dick-Lit" like "The Wonder Boys" by Michael Chabon or "Sideways" by Rex Pickett. But don't come at this book expecting it to be like some other author's work. Rather than suggest he falls under someone else's standard, Don Lee is an amazing author who it would be fairer to say, defines a standard. I look forward to reading Lee's previous books.
I really think this is a story that is more than the sum of its parts.