Monday, March 3, 2008
American Woman, by Susan Choi
This fictionalized Patty Hearst saga relates the travails of a Japanese American activist who is both on the run (former radical terrorist bomber with her boyfriend, who is in prison) from the law, and from herself—the rage and disconnectedness she feels. She becomes a guardian of the last three members of the “army” that abducted Pauline, modeled after Hearst, and eventually becomes her closest friend, her first real intimacy. Written with depth, gravitas, precise language and remarkable details in physicality, Choi’s talent for revealing inner lives and intelligent writing are displayed in full. She transitions between scenes by leaps, and we still get it. Pulitzer Prize nominee. Choi’s debut novel is Foreign Student, and her third is Person of Interest, shortlisted for PEN/Faulkner.