Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Everything Asian, by Sung J. Woo

The name of the book is taken from the name of the store owned by the parents of the main character, Dae Joon (David). Father has been in America five years without his family setting up a business, and the book begins a month after the arrival of Mother, Dae Joon and his noona (older sister, In Sook--Sue). Struggling with language and assimilation, the reunion of the family, and the teenaged trauma that Sue expresses over having been wrenched from her life in Seoul at age 16, the story of this family is told with both humor and pathos. Point of view revolves with the chapters, touching on Father, Mother, and several other merchants in a rather tawdry kiosk-like mall. Except for one sexually graphic chapter of an American family with a grown son whose lives intersect for a moment with this Korean family, this novel could have easily been quite a successful YA book, as it’s a sensitive and authentic story of a young Korean boy’s coming-of-age struggle to find his place in the cloistered world of his family, and the beginnings of identity in a new country.

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