London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Chang-rae Lee: A Gesture Life / Native Speaker

Chang-rae Lee: A Gesture Life / Native Speaker(Granta, 2000) / (Granta, 1995)
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A Gesture Life is a beautiful slow-burn novel which examines the relations between Koreans (both victim and collaborator) and Japanese in the wartime comfort stations. Native Speaker is a detective story which also explores the experiences of Korean immigrants in the US. Read A Gesture Life in preference to Native Speaker if you’re short of time.


2 thoughts on “Chang-rae Lee: A Gesture Life / Native Speaker

  1. I thought A Gesture Life was very well crafted, particularly the elegant and understated ending. For me the most powerful thing was that it told the story from a Japanese’s perspective, bringing out the damage to the aggressors as well as the victims.

    He’s written a third novel, but since Mr Lee isn’t Korean and the book doesn’t have a Korean theme, I suppose that’s off-topic.

  2. Yes, Amazon keep trying to get me to buy his third, but as it hasn’t got a Korean angle I haven’t explored it.

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