Friday, March 12, 2010

The Surrendered - A Review

The Surrendered - Chang-Rae Lee (Publisher for review)

Product Details (from B&N)

  • Pub. Date: March 2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Format: Hardcover, 480pp
  • Sales Rank: 293

Synopsis (from B&N)

The bestselling, award-winning writer of Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, and Aloft returns with his biggest, most ambitious novel yet: a spellbinding story of how love and war echo through an entire lifetime.

With 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 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 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.

My Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying this was a beautifully written story spanning decades. The main character tells us the story of her life from the war in Korea to current times in the States and abroad. The book was rich in detail and full of life. Some parts of the book were so well described, I found myself visualizing the scenes. Mr. Lee is certainly a very gifted writer.

With that said while I enjoyed the book, I have to admit it took me forever to read. Going back and forth between time frames, I found distracting. I would find myself finally settling into a portion of the story, and then it would move on to something else stopping me in my tracks and I would have to start over and get settled again. I am glad I chugged along and kept reading because it was a heartfelt read.

If you don't mind time hopping, I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good story.


Deb said...

This sounds like an interesting read. I both love and hate books that make hop around. But if they are well done then the work is definitely worth it. This sounds like it may be one of those books.

fredamans said...

I'll take the recommendation! Good review!

Lisa said...

I don't mind hopping around if it makes sense in the story and is fairly seamless. Sometimes a writer does it so well that I barely even notice!

Great review!

miss cindy :) said...

Sounds like a good read and I love the cover. Great review :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I found this one using your Goggle map.... I seen you had this read in South Korea and wanted to see what it was.

Now I am obsessed with reading books from all over to put in more pegs on my map... LOL

Not sure about this one but sure love that cover!