DoubleX Audio Book Club: The Surrendered
Our critics discuss Chang-rae Lee's new novel.
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010, at 9:56 AM
To listen to the DoubleX Audio Book Club discussion of Chang-rae Lee's The Surrendered, click the arrow on the player below.
This week, the DoubleX Audio Book Club discusses The Surrendered, by Chang-rae Lee, author of Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, and Aloft. The novel follows the fate of three characters who met at an orphanage after the Korean War: June Han, an orphaned survivor; Hector Brennan, a hard-drinking "failure grand and total;" and Sylvie, the frail and elusive missionary's wife with whom the other two are obsessed.
Emily Bazelon wonders whether the prose is somewhat melodramatic and overwrought, and lacking the simple elegance of Lee's other novels. Margaret Talbot worries about the excessive brutality in the novel. Hanna Rosin defends Lee's masterful descriptions of carnality, in war and sex. All agree that the characters are quite compelling even if the novel is heavy.
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Hanna Rosin is the author of The End of Men, a co-founder of Slate's DoubleX and a senior editor at the Atlantic. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or visit her website.
Margaret Talbot is a staff writer for The New Yorker.
Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and writes about law, family, and kids. Her forthcoming book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Empathy and Character. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
Illustration by Deanna Staffo.