Discoveries: Krys Lee
By Susan Salter ReynoldsMarch 24, 2012
Drifting House by Krys Lee
THE CHARACTERS IN KRYS LEE’S stories are resourceful, determined, fragile, intimate, and lonely all at once. Most have been forced to piece together a life between Korea and America. In these patchwork lives, words like intimacy, proximity, identity, mother, father, child, family all have new meanings. A reader must learn this new vocabulary quickly lest all of Lee’s stories melt into pity. The effect on the children of families forced to send one member to America is profound: their growth, creativity, success in relationships are all affected. But what rises to the top — the cream of the stories — is the sheer will, the determination required to do whatever is necessary to create new opportunities for the next generation. The “goose fathers” send money to their families in America. The mothers who have given up their children live in pain, broken. Instability caused by famine, finance, and separated families makes this a book of floating stories, drifting houses, vertiginous survival. A reader feels, quite literally, dizzy; as if she were looking down from the bridge into the swirling black water, thinking, Surely, this would be easier than that.
Susan Salter Reynolds is a book critic and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Vermont. She has three children: Sam, Ellie, and Mia.
LARB Staff Recommendations
Orner’s off-the-cuff musing that shame is more interesting than love is actually at the emotional heart of his epic family saga
because of its ornateness, Ausubel’s prose seems to float around the idea of trauma
Did you know LARB is a reader-supported nonprofit?
LARB publishes daily without a paywall as part of our mission to make rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts freely accessible to the public. Help us continue this work with your tax-deductible donation today!