The Foreign Student

Susan Choi, Author
Susan Choi, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (325p) ISBN 978-0-06-019149-8
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-154809-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-06-092927-5
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-186902-0
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-154806-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-0-06-154810-9
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Love develops between two troubled people from vastly different worlds in this impressive debut. In 1955, traumatized Korean refugee Chang, or Chuck, as he is renamed by an American soldier, arrives at college in Sewanee, Tenn. Haunted by his war experiences, he lives in seclusion until he meets Katherine Monroe, a New Orleans heiress. Estranged from her family, Katherine, too, is mired in the past, having begun an affair at age 14 with an English professor nearly 30 years her senior. As their unlikely friendship develops, the two are sexually drawn to each other and enter into a brief but passionate affair. Choi evokes the terrain of the Tennessee mountains with a cinematic touch. She also displays a keen eye for the courtly manners of a small Southern town. But it is in her beautifully detailed evocation of the rich, albeit scarred emotional landscapes of her characters that she is at her best--grave, clear-eyed and artless. Indeed, the paths that bring Chuck and Katherine together are more convincingly traced than their eventual relationship, which at times seems somewhat contrived, the one weakness in a work full of ambition and considerable talent. (Sept.)
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