Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee

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The debut novel from critically-acclaimed and New York Times–bestselling author Chang-rae Lee.

In Native Speaker, author Chang-rae Lee introduces readers to Henry Park. Park has spent his entire life trying to become a true American—a native speaker. But even as the essence of his adopted country continues to elude him, his Korean heritage seems to drift further and further away.

Park's harsh Korean upbringing has taught him to hide his emotions, to remember everything he learns, and most of all to feel an overwhelming sense of alienation. In other words, it has shaped him as a natural spy.

But the very attributes that help him to excel in his profession put a strain on his marriage to his American wife and stand in the way of his coming to terms with his young son's death. When he is assigned to spy on a rising Korean-American politician, his very identity is tested, and he must figure out who he is amid not only the conflicts within himself but also within the ethnic and political tensions of the New York City streets.

Native Speaker is a story of cultural alienation. It is about fathers and sons, about the desire to connect with the world rather than stand apart from it, about loyalty and betrayal, about the alien in all of us and who we finally are.

His most recent book, On Such a Full Sea, will be published in January 2014.


About Chang-rae Lee

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CHANG-RAE LEE is the author of Native Speaker, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction, A Gesture Life, and Aloft. Selected by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best writers under forty, Chang-rae Lee teaches writing at Princeton University.
Published March 1, 1996 by Riverhead. 372 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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``Mostly, though,'' says Henry, ``I threw all my frustration into building those perfect, truncated pyramids of fruit.'' He also describes how his father employed recently arrived immigrants because they were the hardest workers.

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Publishers Weekly

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Espionage acts as a metaphor for the uneasy relationship of Amerasians to American society in this eloquent, thought-provoking tale of a young Korean-American's struggle to conjoin the fragments of hi

Feb 27 1995 | Read Full Review of Native Speaker

Publishers Weekly

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Raised in a family and culture valuing careful control of emotions and appearances, narrator Henry Park, son of a successful Korean-American grocer, works as an undercover operative for a vaguely sinister private intelligence agency.

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Entertainment Weekly

Native Speaker Chang-Rae Lee (Riverhead Press, $22.95) At first, it seems there are some important things to know about Henry, the narrator of this debut novel by a young Korean-American: He is a young Korean-American;

Mar 24 1995 | Read Full Review of Native Speaker

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