Borne of nothing, self-cesarean, autochthon. Native speaker of the hyphen, begat on a plane bordering no other. This is how Chang-Rae Lee defines his narrator.
This is a brilliant, thoughtful, subject-packed, angst-riddled, almost-noir, teeters-on-the-edge-of-soap-opera, and finally, an excellent literary first novel by a very wise writer. It is one of those novels where its strengths are also its weaknesses.
Ostensibly, this is narrated by a very depressed second-generation American, Korean-American Henry Park. Park is separated from his wife, separated from his son, separated from his Korean-born father and moth This is a brilliant, thoughtful, subject-packed, angst-riddled, almost-noir, teeters-on-the-edge-of-soap-opera, and finally, an excellent literary first novel by a very wise writer.
Park is separated from his wife, separated from his son, separated from his Korean-born father and mother, separated from both American and Korean culture, but most of all, separated from himself.
Glimmer specializes in personal betrayal and deceit: Some of their targets are political activists, unions and journalists. Sometimes the targets die.
The spies report to an ordinary office in an ordinary business building with real estate brokers and doctors. The spies banter and drink together, but there is no real friendship.
Jack appears to like Park, but it is understood that the job always comes first. Park is as middle-class as any American, but he is also trained from childhood in the machine-cog behaviors of Asian cultures.
In Korean life per the authority of this book, written by Korean-American Chang-Rae Leedemonstrative family affection is further down the list of important qualities than where Americans place it.
Swallowing unexpressed hurts and demonstrating polite ritualized frozen respect are marks of a superior Asian person. Revenge is cold when it is expressed. The best revenge may be primarily through even more intense polite ritual.
Since stoicism is also high on the list of proper behavior for Koreans, determined heavily by the necessities of saving face and hierarchical place, many disruptive family difficulties follow when Park marries a white emotionally-demonstrative American 'relief worker', Lelia.
Lelia is a speech therapist, helping the foreign-born to learn English, but in spite of her knowledge of forming communicative words she can't understand some of the invisible fractures of communication between herself and her husband Park.
Mitt does get a pass-through education in Korean manners on an occasional basis. These small children are all of middle-class suburban mowed-grass-lawn American-born neighbors, playing the game of 'pile on'.
Poor Mitt is literally smothered by metaphoric American culture and by the hopes of fitting into America by his Korean father and white mother. I think even if she had been able to understand the cultural nuances, there would still have been shocked horror on both sides.
As a native American, I cannot understand the rigidity of these formal Asian families. I see it, I've read about it, I understand that the shame of breaking taboos can be such that people commit suicide over some kinds of 'loss of face', but it is completely beyond my ability to really 'understand' some of the things defined by 'face'.
Americans have rigidities of keeping face, too, just not so many or such strident feelings about it, generally unless you are a neo-Republican or a Fundamentalist or Tea Party member.
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To me, 'face' is a huge waste of time and lives, and a source of endless agony in a world where there already is plenty of that.
Of course, traditional Asians, I've read, see us as impulsive, childish, selfish bigots. All of us, whatever race we are, are probably right in some of our general biases and stereotypes, but wrong in the importance of them as contributing factors to any general success or failure.
From where I'm standing, I think despite this book whining on or whinging -I kinda like the British word whinging for pages about the pain and disassociation of being a half-whatever racially and culturally, the underlying message is that our genetic, cultural and social baggage is ONLY baggage.
In the end, cultural baggage is only overwhelmingly heavy if we pack it too tightly with significance.Native Speaker Chang-rae Lee, New York, Riverhead Books Review by Jerry Winzig (review originally appeared Fall , Korean Quarterly) Chang-rae LeeÕs first novel, Native Speaker.
May 12, · In this first novel, Chang-rae Lee, who teaches writing, discovers provocative strategies to describe what seems to be an inarticulate sense of unease permeating the . Study Guide for Native Speaker. Native Speaker study guide contains a biography of Chang-Rae Lee, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Vol.7, No.3, May, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. Study on Bilinear Scheme and Application to Three-dimensional Convective Equation (Itaru Hataue and Yosuke Matsuda). Native Speaker is Chang-rae Lee’s debut novel. Written in , the themes of assimilation and being true to your culture are still relevant today.
I find Lee’s writing to be quiet and introspective, which may not be to everyone’s taste/5. This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee.
Native Speaker is a novel told from the perspective of Henry Park who is a first generation Korean American.