I can’t believe I haven’t previously listed this prize-winning book, since I read it years ago shortly after its release in 2001, and have never forgotten it, especially that its prose was gorgeous. Edinburgh is a coming-of-age story about a Korean American twelve-year-old in Maine who is immersed in the culture of a boys’ choral group that has a pedophile teacher. Homosexuality, music, art and difficult subjects and scenes are written with detailed prose that give insight into these difficulties with masterful complexity. Pervasive themes of light, music and fire give luminescence to the story and lift the horror and darkness of the dramatic action into nuanced sensitivity.
Chee has an informative and entertaining blog, Koreanish, that covers numerous literary topics as well as just plain interesting subjects.