Monday, November 8, 2010

The Surrendered

by:  Chang-rae Lee
published by:  Riverhead Hardcover

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.

I listened to the audiobook for this.  It was fairly good.  The audiobook reader did a decent job.  However, I don't think this book was suitable for an audiobook, at least not for me.  It got REALLY long.  I felt like I was listening to it forever.  Parts where I might have started skimming the book, I started tuning out the story and then got lost as to what was going on.  There were some pretty big twists and turns and surprises going on in this book so you really afford to tune out too much.

It was a really interesting story most of the time.  There were just times when the descriptions when on a bit too long or the inner dialogue got boring.  Or there were times when the story lingered in the past when I wanted it to get back to the future setting or vice versa. 

I'd say my bottom line on this book would be that it was pretty good, but it was too long.  It could have done with a harsher editor and still got the message across beautifully. 

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