THE SURRENDERED — Reviewers’ Fav

Of the reviewers’ recent favorites, the leader, as judged by sheer numbers as well as enthusiasm, is Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered.

USA Today‘s review brings the total from consumer publications to at least 15 by our count (we may have missed some), including People magazine, The Portland Oregonian and the NYT BR.

The novel traces the lives of three people who meet in a South Korean orphanage just after the war, through several decades, shifting back and forth in time and place.

The Washington Post feels that the main character, June, is portrayed so well that she  seems “more real than some people we know. But her power is somewhat dimmed by the two less compelling figures…” The review ends on a note echoed by many others,

Serious readers these days are not so unsophisticated as to expect a novel like The Surrendered to provide any sort of uplift — which it certainly does not — or to teach them Very Important Lessons about war and its catastrophic effects. They will read this book to share the life that’s in it, and they have every right to expect that it will offer life in return. With one full-hearted portrait out of three, Lee has only partially but rather magnificently succeeded.

The Boston Globe expresses it this way,

The Surrendered is a dream you can’t quite wake up from. You close the book, shut your eyes, and there’s little June still running for a train, trying to save her fractured life. Again, you feel a keen anguish. Lee understands that in art and in stories what is perhaps most valuable is not what can be explained but what can be felt.

Anne Morris of the Dallas Morning News isn’t so sure,

The Surrendered propels readers through shocking scenes of torture, rape, murder, starvation and mutilation in its 480 beautifully written pages. It’s up to readers to decide whether the enlightenment is worth the cost.

I go back and forth on that. This novel gave me nightmares.

These comments haven’t put off library readers; holds are heavy in some areas.

Below are links to the reviews;

The Surrendered
Chang-rae Lee
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 1594489769 / 9781594489761

ebook available from OverDrive

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