The Surrendered

Front Cover
Penguin, Mar 9, 2010 - Fiction - 496 pages
23 Reviews
Read an essay by Chang-rae Lee here.

The bestselling, award-winning writer of Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, and Aloft returns with his biggest, most ambitious novel yet: a spellbinding story of how love and war echo through an entire lifetime.

With his three critically acclaimed novels, Chang-rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction. Now, with The Surrendered, Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works, and reads like nothing else. It is a brilliant, haunting, heartbreaking story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch.

June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner, the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything. Thirty years later and on the other side of the world, June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their past, and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together.

As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another. Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range, energy, and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft, Chang-rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious, exciting, and unforgettable work yet. It is a mesmeriz­ing novel, elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: The Surrendered

User Review  - Steve Woods - Goodreads

This is a book about deeply damaged people and the ways by which they adjusted themselves to the experience of the tearing trajectories of their lives. As is the case with many whose early life is ... Read full review

Review: The Surrendered

User Review  - Carl Brush - Goodreads

I just finished this one and am still trying to catch my breath. The Surrendered is not just a novel, but an experience. A powerful one. I read Lee's Aloft and Native Speaker some years back, the same ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »


ONE Korea
TWO NewYork 1986
FIVE Yongin South Korea 1953

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Chang-Rae Lee was born in South Korea and immigrated to the Chang-Rae Lee was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was three. A graduate United States with his family when he was three. A graduate of Yale College, he is an assistant professor of creative wrof Yale College, he is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon. iting at the University of Oregon.

Bibliographic information