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The Resource The foreign student : a novel, Susan Choi

The foreign student : a novel, Susan Choi

Label
The foreign student : a novel
Title
The foreign student
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Susan Choi
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A love affair in 1950s Tennessee between a Southern heiress and a Korean student. He is Chang, a translator living down the trauma of the Korean War, she is Katherine, recuperating from a romance with a much older professor. A first novel
Storyline
Character
Review
  • First-novelist Choi blends unlikely elements into a resonant story that immerses the reader in the times, places, and lives of her characters as only the best fiction can. In the small college town of Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1955, a feisty southern belle meets a Korean student, but their pasts stand in the way of their mutual attraction. Katherine Monroe has spent half her life in love with the most prominent professor on campus, a man 28 years her senior and a friend of her parents, who first bedded her when she was 14. And Chang Ahn, a former translator for USIS who was caught in the ravages of his country's war, has escaped Korea but not his nightmares. In prose that is alternately spare and lush, Choi constructs a plot that only gradually reveals the horrors Chang has endured, at the same time raising the possibility of a happy future. Expect word-of-mouth and book-club interest in this accomplished, perceptive novel, which invites rereading and lingers in the reader's memory. ((Reviewed August 1998)) -- Michele Leber
  • 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.)
  • Set in Sewanee, TN, this first novel unravels the stories of 28-year-old Katherine Monroe and her friend "Chuck" Chang Ahn, a 25-year-old Korean-born student. Both characters have complex histories. For instance, at the age of 14, Katherine became involved with an English professor, a college roommate of her father's during his days at Sewanee. Equally poignant is Chuck's experience during the war in Korea, when he served as a translator for the United States. These tales, and a few others linking minor and major characters, are loosely woven together in a fashion reminiscent of the writing of Amy Tan. However, the reader is unable to gain a strong sense of a single character before being moved to the next. Hence, when the story lines shift, the individual reader is left with a sense of confusion and disconnection. A good effort, but not recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/98.]--Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Fountain Valley, CA
  • An uneven first novel that elegantly details the love story of two young people, a Korean student and a southern beauty, whose earlier lives have been shaped by war and obsession. Like so many current debut novels, the writing here is stronger than plot or character, but Choi, in giving her male protagonist a Korean background, especially one shaped by a less familiar war--the Korean War--adds a refreshingly unusual dimension to her tale. Set in the mid-1950s, and taking place mostly at Sewanee, the University of the South, the story begins when Chuck Ahn, formerly Chang, meets Katherine Monroe. Now in her late 20's, Katherine, living at Sewanee in her family's old summer home, is in love with Charles Addison, an older professor--he was a classmate of her father's at Sewanee--who seduced her the summer she was 14. Chuck, who recently served as a translator for the American forces, is there on a scholarship. As the year passes, Katherine and Chuck keep meeting by accident in scenes that alternate with their recollections of the past. Katherine recalls how she came to be seduced, and how her obsessive love for Addison has shaped, or perhaps, as one observer suggests, mined her life. Chuck remembers the privations of the war years; his flight when the communists retook Seoul, and, in an internment camp, his betrayal of someone who'd once helped him-an act that determined him to leave Korea. A surprise proposal of marriage from Addison finally makes Katherine confront her confused feelings. In New Orleans for the summer to be with her dying mother, she invites Chuck to visit. He does, and the two at last accept their pasts, and--in the best tradition, though the affair never crackles with convincing tension--each other. While the love story never seems all that credible or affecting, Choi has tried to write a great sweep of a novel that is both moving and intelligent. The result is deserving of praise, and the author of encouragement. (Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1998)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
001425
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1969-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Choi, Susan
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Students, Foreign
  • Koreans
  • Koreans
  • Students, Foreign
  • Sewanee (Tenn.)
  • Tennessee
  • Tennessee
  • United States
Label
The foreign student : a novel, Susan Choi
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
327894
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
325 pages
Isbn
9780060191498
Lccn
98011919
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060191498
  • (OCoLC)38304617
Label
The foreign student : a novel, Susan Choi
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
327894
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
325 pages
Isbn
9780060191498
Lccn
98011919
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060191498
  • (OCoLC)38304617

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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