The Collective by Don Lee
A Novel

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Synopsis

“Heartbreaking, sexy, and frequently funny.”—Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly


In 1988, Eric Cho, an aspiring writer, arrives at Macalester College. On his first day he meets a beautiful fledgling painter, Jessica Tsai, and another would-be novelist, the larger-than-life Joshua Yoon. Brilliant, bawdy, generous, and manipulative, Joshua alters the course of their lives, rallying them together when they face an adolescent act of racism. As adults in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the three friends reunite as the 3AC, the Asian American Artists Collective—together negotiating the demands of art, love, commerce, and idealism until another racially tinged controversy hits the headlines, this time with far greater consequences. Long after the 3AC has disbanded, Eric reflects on these events as he tries to make sense of Joshua’s recent suicide.



With wit, humor, and compassion, The Collective explores the dream of becoming an artist, and questions whether the reality is worth the sacrifice.
 

About Don Lee

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Don Lee has received an American Book Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Fred R. Brown Literary Award. His stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, GQ, The Southern Review, American Short Fiction, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. For nineteen years, he was the principal editor of the literary journal Ploughshares. He is currently the director of the MFA program in creative writing at Temple University.
 
Published July 16, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 321 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Collective

Kirkus Reviews

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Years later, after his suicide (Lee uses it as a hook for his opening), Eric concludes that “Joshua was a liar, a narcissist, a naysayer, a bully, and a misogynist.” Add to that list: a bore.

Jun 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Lee (Yellow) usually writes about pairs of men—brothers, friends, cops, writers, often polar opposites—but here develops a mixed triad, as narrator Eric Cho and the tyrannical Joshua Yoon, both aspiring novelists, befriend dormmate Jessica Tsai, a painter/sculptor.

May 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

Star Tribune

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A tightly plotted tale that is part mystery, part coming-of-age and thoroughly American in its exploration of the uneasy role of the artist.

Aug 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The passionate and infuriating young artists at the center of Lee's third novel, The Collective, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to define themselves.

Jul 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

PopMatters

These are the questions that third time novelist Don Lee puts forth in his breathtaking new novel, The Collective, which follows three friends of Asian American descent throughout their 20s, first in college and then living together in Boston, as they try to make a mark for themselves in the art ...

Dec 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Long after the 3AC has disbanded, Eric reflects on these events as he tries to make sense of Joshua’s recent suicide.

With wit, humor, and compassion, The Collective explores the dream of becoming an artist, and questions whether the reality is worth the sacrifice.

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

Time Out New York

His is the sort of special talent and negative charisma around which a great deal of activity is frequently generated, and eventually the three main characters find themselves founders of a thriving group of young Asian-American artists called the Collective.

Aug 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Collective: A Novel

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