By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated March 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST
Advertisement

Native Speaker

type
  • Book
genre

Native Speaker Chang-Rae Lee (Riverhead Press, $22.95) At first, it seems there are some important things to know about Henry, the narrator of this debut novel by a young Korean-American: He is a young Korean-American; he is a corporate spy-for-hire; he has just been sort of left by his wife; he is about to begin infiltrating the campaign machine of a local Korean-American politician; and he is experiencing a kind of identity crisis. Essentially, however, Henry is an outsider like many outsiders, a loner who has turned his aloneness into profit, an alien who has taken refuge in being alien. He is thus representative of a certain type of person even more than he is Korean, or American, or married, and it is that fact he must come to terms with and try to change. And it is that coming to terms and change that lies at the heart of this book, making it penetrable and relevant to a larger audience. The spy stuff is a little over the top, but in the end it sloughs off like so much dead skin, exposing the germination of a live and vibrant talent. B+ -VVF

Native Speaker

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Chang-rae Lee

Comments