Acclaimed writer Chang-Rae Lee's latest deftly crafted novel, The Surrendered, tells the story of three people whose fraught connection was forged, in one way or another, by the Korean War. The book's dense, non-linear narrative moves from 1950s Korea to 1930s China to New York City and Italy in the 1980s, a juggling of settings that represents Lee's most ambitious effort to date. As the son of a father who immigrated to the U.S.
from Korea, the war and its physical and emotional toll was a topic the author was keenly interested in tackling. Lee, who teaches creative writing at Princeton, is gratified that the book seems to be moving readers. “I haven’t had a book out in some years, and it’s kind of strange to say, but you kind of forget that you have readers,” he says. “And then you forget what readers really are, which are sort of interested passionate people. I’m always a bit humbled by the experience. Here it is these two people who don’t know anything really about each other but we’ve connected over something.” Lee discusses The Surrendered 2 p.m. Saturday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Free.
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