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Past and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June Hector and Sylvie he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy salvation and surrendering oneself to another Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range energy and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft Chang rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious exciting and unforgettable work yet It is a mesmerizing novel elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting.. War is hell a fact that is on display in nearly every war related piece of fiction that does not somehow involve John Wayne Less often explored is the toll that war takes on the civilians who are in the affected areas Still less often explored is the Korean War which is important to the plot here The Surrendered could have filled a void and been one of those books that while a work of fiction kind of opens your eyes to something you never really thought about It would have been this except for the fact that it is so full of depressing things that you can t do anything except ask Was all that really necessaryI have read depressing books before and liked them The Painted Bird for instance was a total gut punch from start to finish but it never felt manipulative to me The problem with The Surrendered is that every last detail that is filled in is depressing You can t take it seriously after a whileLet s look at the three principal characters for illustrationCharacter 1 a war orphan This is fine Her father is a suspected Communist supporter and is probably killed OK Brother conscripted captured and reconscripted by the North Mother and older sister are blown up by a bomb as they shelter in a military truck which bomber flyover was the only thing that stopped an attempted rape She has two younger siblings who end up in her orbit after this They try to hitch a train all the way to the south towards some vaguely remembered relatives A bump in the rail knocks both off the side and each separately has a limb amputated by the train and they dieIn the part of the story that takes place in 1986 she has grown up to be abandoned by the son she raised as a single mother she has been widowed by the husband she found late in life and she is dying of stomach cancerCharacter 2 Former soldier He only joins the Army because his father kind of a drunk drowns in a canal after falling drunk into it The character despite being underage was his father s drinking buddyminder but left early one night to bang a war widow and on this night his father died This is why he enlists later when the Korean conflict erupts He encounters the re conscripted brother of 1 he doesn t know this at the time of course who thanks to some cruelty of his fellow soldiers is pushed off a cliff 2 tries to save him but 1 would rather die pulling a grenade and holding it just long enough to get awayLater we discover that as a boy he was in a choir at a Catholic church until the priest tried to abuse him This is when I stopped reading this detail on top of all the rest was too much for me to take seriouslyCharacter 3 The wife of a missionary priest who comes to run a Korean orphanage 1 in her orphaned years is drawn to 3 and this orphanage is where 2 comes to work after he gets kicked out of the Army for various misdeeds After the incident described above he is reassigned to the Graves Unit meaning he works with black soldiers mostly with dead bodies Her parents were killed horribly while she watched by Japanese soldiers who were invading China her parents also being missionaries and she later became an opium addictThere is misery for all who are swept up by war including the forgotten for some there is nothing but misery But this book is just piling on at every turn There is no comic relief hardly any kind of levity at all Every detail filled in is maximum suffering for its characters even the throwaway details like new sort of girlfriend is singing so character 2 sings along and thinks about how he used to be in a choir What a mess You can t get emotionally involved in a story that is transparently and gratuitously trying to tug every heart string at every possible little turn Stay away

review ´ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook × Chang-rae Lee

The Surrendered

A stunning story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch The Surrendered is elegant suspenseful and unforgettable a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy and salvationWith his three critically acclaimed novels Chang rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction Now with The Surrendered Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works and reads like nothing else It is a brilliant haunting heartbreaking story about. The story in this novel is filled with flashbacks in the lives of two principal characters to earlier episodes during and following the Korean War when their lives intersected There s a third principal character who s background is also explored All three of them experienced tragic losses of loved ones or family members during their youth Then as if the flashbacks were not enough the reader is hit with a tragic incident and a terrible disappointment in the current time line of the narrative The two principal characters come together thirty years after the Korean War to seek a sort of catharsis from their shared past experiences The past is revealed through bits and pieces throughout the book and the book contains hints along the way that it s leading up to a final and ultimate climatic incident from their past It is the suspense of this coming revelation that pulls the reader s interest through to the end of the book It is my understanding that the tragic incident described in the first chapter is based upon experience of the author s father as a child refugee in the Korean War It s a story that will haunt the reader The author does a neat job of bringing up this story again at the end of the book to wrap up the story into a satisfying conclusion However this is NOT a feel good novel It s clear that the author s intent was to explore the lifelong damaged done to the psyche of those who have been exposed to violence and regret at an early age However it s my observation that author tried to depict the tortured nature of their souls by exploring their sexual desires and actions I wish the reader could have been provided than a glimpse of their inner feelings and motivations In short there s too much sex for me and not enough psychology in this book I tried to judge the appropriateness of this book for a reading group The book contains much good discussion material but the emphasis on sexual matters could turn off many readers I ll probably not recommend itIt s interesting to note that a book about the 1859 Battle of Solferino in Italy plays a symbolic role in this story That battle is a symbol of suffering leading to hope The immense suffering caused by the Battle of Solferino and witnessed by Henry Dunant inspired him to a campaign which led to the founding of the Red Cross

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How love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country When the war ended their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything Thirty years later and on the other side of the world June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their. Well Hard to say exactly what I thought about this book OK I thought many parts were beautifully written I also thought it was way too long yet the character development was way too thin For having so many pages the author didn t seem to know what to do with them Three stars is maybe a little harsh but the book wasn t worthy of four so without a half star option three it isThe book started out strongly you really felt that you were in the rice paddies on the train starving with June and her family The sections of the book set in Korea and China were definitely the best parts of the book Unfortunately the book jumped from past to present and the present day sections weren t as well written They had issues if you willI couldn t believe that Hector s experiences were so damaging that he became this shell of a man I just didn t get it Many people survive worse and go on to have some kind of meaningful life Hector s barroom experiences relationship with Dora Dora herself in fact relationship with the Korean friend etc just went on much too long None of it was that interesting and could have been covered in a dozen pages instead of a dozen chapters I truly didn t care about the Korean friend the money the friend owed to the dying mobster the mobster s dead daughter none of it had any relationship to the story except as background on HectorIn a similar vein while June s war experiences were horrible they didn t fully explain her adult actions in particular her relationship with her son Speaking of the son it was difficult to believe that a 22 year old would leave for Europe never to be seen again Sure June wasn t a perfect mother but she wasn t that bad and there was nothing to really explain why Nicholas vanished except that the author needed him to disappear to move the story forwardAlso June had this husband that we knew nothing about except a couple of brief mentions about the marriage and his death Since he sounded like a normal guy I was troubled by the fact that he never met his stepson or seemed to care that his wife had a vanished son None of it was believableLastly there was the book I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the book to be explained What was it about this book that sent a dying woman to end her life in a small Itialian town But at the end of the day it was just a book loved by Sylvie because it had come from her parents and loved by June because it came from Sylvie Perhaps if June had given it her her son he would never have left for Europe Oops then we wouldn t have had a reason to go to Europe to look for him and there goes half of the story You know maybe that wouldn t have been a bad thing


10 thoughts on “The Surrendered

  1. says:

    I don't think I've ever tried harder to like a book than I did Chang rae Lee's latest The Surrendered But I think a book should pull us in to its world make us want no need to know what happens to its characters We shouldn't have to try to like it The Surrendered is a departure for Lee It is perhaps his most ambitious novel to date and for this I applaud him His previous three novels were all written in the first person and revo

  2. says:

    The story in this novel is filled with flashbacks in the lives of two principal characters to earlier episodes during and following the Korean War when their lives intersected There's a third principal character who's background is also explored All three of them experienced tragic losses of loved ones or family members during their youth Then as if the flashbacks were not enough the reader is hit with a tra

  3. says:

    45 stars Gorgeous storytelling Compelling characters Totally took me by surprise I can't wait to read of Lee's work

  4. says:

    Well Hard to say exactly what I thought about this book OK I thought many parts were beautifully written I also thought it was way too long yet the character development was way too thin For having so many pages the author didn't seem to know what to do with them Three stars is maybe a little harsh but the book wasn't worthy of four so withou

  5. says:

    In “The Surrendered” Chang Rae Lee examines the ruinous effects of the Korean War on two survivors a child June who loses her entire family in the flight of civilian refugees southward down the Korean peninsu

  6. says:

    What happens to life after you survive the atrocities and randomness of war? Chang rae Lee examines the deep intricacies of this uesti

  7. says:

    There are a few prized novels in memory that ransacked me raw and bare while simultaneously enveloping me whole and full This is a glittering example of one a slow burn of a book that ignites slowly gradually like kindling around a giant bole For the first half of the book I admit I wasn't seduced I wasn't taken or thrown or fiercely engage

  8. says:

    War is hell a fact that is on display in nearly every war related piece of fiction that does not somehow involve John Wayne Less often explored is the toll that war takes on the civilians who are in the affected areas Stil

  9. says:

    This being a book of historical fiction I thought I would get a little history than I did There is very little in this book about either the Korean War 1950 1953 or the Japanese takeover of Manchuria in the 1930s The main focus is the relationship between the missionary Ames Tanner his wife Sylvie Tanner an American GI Hector Brennanand an orphan June Hanset at a Korean orphanage in the aftermath of the Korean War There is anothe

  10. says:

    Gut wrenchingly sad and modestly joyful in alternating scenes A racing crescendo bounding toward and end but backward and forward in time I stretched the reading of this book out too far but still felt its grip as if I had