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The Surrendered (2010)

by Chang-Rae Lee

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7665528,721 (3.8)65
Thirty years after vying for the attentions of a beautiful but damaged missionary wife at an orphanage, Korean orphan June Han and former GI Hector Brennan are reunited by a plot that forces them to come to terms with mysterious secrets from their past.
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» See also 65 mentions

English (56)  Dutch (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I am about a third of the way into this book and loving it. Lee is such a superb writer. ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
The first half of this novel was totally engrossing; I looked forward to every chapter. Then, it seemed to take a turn and I almost had to force myself to finish. First set in Korea after the war, a young girl, June Han loses her entire family. We next see her in an orphanage run by some Christian missionaries, Rev. Tanner and his wife Sylvia. Other chapters tell of the back story of Sylvia, the daughter of fearless missionaries whose lives took them all over the world into some of the worse conditions of which Sylvia saw as a child growing up. As a young girl, she is in Korea and seems to have a young love of a man found to be a Communist spy. The killing and torture is brutal. Sylvia is a broken woman but one that commands devotion from her husband and many of the children at the orphanage.

Hector is an American soldier charged with the "clean up " of killed soldiers -- brutal work. He stays in Korea for lack of anything better to do and is the all-around handy man at the orphanage. He has a relationship with Sylvia and does June.

Hector eventually marries June in order to bring her to the US, but the marriage is mostly a sham and they are divorced. Now we see June as a successful businesswoman selling antiques. Her son, Nicholas, is somewhere in Europe. June finds Hector (who has just now seemingly found a woman to settle with), but this woman is killed and Hector and June go off to Italy in search of Nicholas. June is dying of stomach cancer. The events in Italy are often just beyond believable and there is much "angst" on the part of everyone.

I've heard so much of this author and obviously, this is a well-written novel, but was just too long, too involved, and too much. ( )
  maryreinert | Mar 15, 2021 |
Although this book had an interesting premise, .. Although this book had one very interesting main for protagonist, this book just didn't grab and hold my attention unfortunately.
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Although this book had an interesting premise, .. Although this book had one very interesting main for protagonist, this book just didn't grab and hold my attention unfortunately.
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
The characterisation in this novel is masterful. I loved these very flawed characters which evoked my sympathy. There is also much to be learned about the impact of the Korean war on individual lives.
I highly recommend this novel. ( )
  HelenBaker | Sep 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Mr. Lee chronicles these cruel, heartbreaking events of war with harrowing, cinematic immediacy, making palpable the excruciating violence and the huge footprint it leaves on people’s lives. He not only shows us the sights and sounds of a country being torn apart by civil war, but also does an equally powerful job of conveying the emotional consequences of war — the psychological damage sustained by people, who will spend the rest of their lives trying to forget or exorcise terrible memories.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Chang-Raeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thirty years after vying for the attentions of a beautiful but damaged missionary wife at an orphanage, Korean orphan June Han and former GI Hector Brennan are reunited by a plot that forces them to come to terms with mysterious secrets from their past.

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Roman magistral sur le ravages de la guerre , Les Vulnérables tient autant de la fresque historique que du récit intime . Au temps des héros , succeed celui des survivants , cette vie d'après que chacun tente de recontruire . Avec un talent hors de commun , Chang-rae Lee intrrroge l'Amérique et son mythe éternel. Le pays de tous les possibles est-il vraiment une terre d'acceuil pour ceux que l'on sacrifie au nom de l'histoire ?

June Han was orphaned as a girl by the Korean War. Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage, where they vied for the attention of Sylvie Tanner, a beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary.

As Lee masterfully unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another.
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