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Review of Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
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Espionage serves as a symbol for the nervous relationship between American-Asians to American people in this articulate, thought-provoking story of a youthful Korean-American’s effort to conjoin the pieces of his character in culturally distinct New York City (Lee, 1995). Brought up in a culture and family valuing cautious control of appearances and emotions, a storyteller, Henry Park, a son of a flourishing Korean-American grocer, labors as an undercover operative for an unclear ominous private intelligence organization. Henry Park and Lelia his "American wife," are separated, partly due to Henry’s patient way of dealing with the recent demise of their little son (Lee, 1995). Moreover, Henry is having difficulties at work, becoming sensitively attached to the individuals he should be inspecting. Reflecting on his upbringing, he discovers the path that has guided his present grief; as he penetrates the staff of a famous Korean-American city councilman; Henry finds out the broad, societal perspective of the problems he has been struggling with individually (Lee, 1995).
This book shows the problems concerning isolation, alienation, and self-identity disaster that the immigrants encounter as the outsiders and minority in the American community. This book takes the formation of detective fiction, creating a ale of a spy who explores a ruthless politician. Its major action regards an incredibly compelling John Kwang, New York City councilman, the icon of thousands of settler supporters in his home district of Queens (Lee, 1995). Somebody desires to see him go downhill, and it is the job of Henry to offer the dirty laundry. In addition, this narrative of betrayal and trust is linked together with other, more fragile threads: Henry’s uneasy relationship with his customary Korean father and his problematic marriage plus his Confucian incapacity to show live both of them except via silence.
Beautifully written and enchantingly schemed, the book interweaves the love, politics, loss, and family as Park begins to add up the sequence of his life (Lee, 1995). As he does, Henry’s experiences elucidate the many-layered immigrant encounters in general and in particular the Asian immigrant experience, in a manner that one appreciates and understands. Through Henry Park’s life the author reveals the isolation and alienation that many immigrants and their kids encounter from the American people (Lee, 1995).
Moreover, he shows the discords between the first generation immigrants and second generation America-born kids resulting from the differences in culture and the discordant views concerning their lives. VVia the design of a spy, the writer successfully develops feeling of ambiguity of place and identity from the point view of an everlasting outcast watching the American culture from a distance. Starting to fear that he has been disloyal to both American and Korean worlds and fit in neither, the single thing that Henry got from his spy life and an outsider is the verification of his real identity filled with sorrow and pain. Henry, a hero of the book, hunts for certainty of his identity and shows a strong distrust regarding love and civilization toward the nature (Lee, 1995).
Furthermore, Henry Park has some characteristics of incapability to sleep at night, and the conviction of elegance under stress. Who am I? This query is thrown to the writer himself, in addition to Henry. Despite having moved to America when he was just three years old, graduated from the University of Yale, and verified himself as a native speaker utilizing English as his native language, Henry still believes that he is an outcast who cannot integrate into American society (Lee, 1995). For this reason, the reader can picture this book as writer’s honest encounters of his life. The book Native Speaker accosts the readers as a vital connotation for it deals with racism, a strange feature of American society, and bravely depicts the isolation of modern people.
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