The Starlet and the Spy

Ji-Min Lee. Harper, $15.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-293026-2
Lee’s heartbreaking debut riffs on true events to tell the story of a brief connection between Marilyn Monroe and a Korean War survivor. Kim Ae-Sun has changed her name to Alice J. Kim, and in early 1954, less than a year after the cease-fire, she’s working as a typist and translator at an American military base in Seoul. When Marilyn comes to visit the troops that remain in the country, Alice is assigned to escort her to various functions, helping with organizing and translating. Observing and interacting with the glamorous movie star does little to soothe Alice’s memories of the loss of her youthful self, her two prewar lovers, and a child she had taken into her care after escaping a refugee camp. The atrocities of war—including the battles of her country and the bitter conflict within herself—continue to sear Alice’s thoughts after she’s located by one of her ex-lovers during Marilyn’s tour, and when she realizes he had worked as a spy, her world is shaken again. The presence of Marilyn doesn’t dominate the story, but when she helps Alice to face despair simply by the force of her personality, her impact is as dramatic as her short life. This is a well-told historical snapshot, but at the center is the author’s convincing portrayal of the pain Alice experiences. Lee’s touching examination of the long shadow of a war cast over one woman will leave readers intensely moved. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/19/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-06-293027-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-294388-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-8867-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-9826-8868-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-8866-0
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