Review: Drifting House

Editorial Review - - Shelby Wardlaw

In her debut fiction collection, Krys Lee writes with the confidence of an experienced observer of human behavior. Her tales of heartbreak and dissolution illustrate the effects of the last halfcentury of Korean history on the microcosm of the family structure. "DRIFTING HOUSE is essential reading for 2012 for the lover of literature and for anyone with an eye on the future of publishing." Lee is ... Read full review

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Although I prefer novels over short stories, I’ve read my fair share of short story collections. Some were good and some were bad. Once in awhile I come across a collection of short stories that isn’t just “good,” it’s superb. "Drifting House" (February 2012) is such a collection.
The nine stories within this volume tell the tales of both Koreans and Korean-Americans over a forty year time span (1970s to present). Although the stories are independent of each other, they share many common themes, including loss, love, and loneliness. The narrators range from a gifted young boy living in America with his Korean born parents (“At the Edge of the World”) to a mother desperate to find her daughter who was kidnapped and taken to America by her ex-husband (“A Temporary Marriage”). One of my favorite stories, “The Goose Father,” is about a lonely man working in Korea who sends money overseas to his family living in Boston. In an effort to stave off his loneliness, Gilho decides to welcome a tenant named Wuseong into his house. This decision is life-changing.
Krys Lee is a very talented writer. Her carefully crafted prose is both tight and lyrical. Although each story is only about twenty to twenty-five pages long, a good deal happens in every one. The diversity of themes makes this an excellent book group selection. Overall, "Drifting House" is a must-read—even for those who don’t read usually read short stories.

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