Interviews | April 28, 2014

Chang-rae Lee’s novels are often peopled by characters who don’t quite fit into the cultures in which they find themselves. They are stories of cultural identity and assimilation, tales of immigrants who both belong and don’t belong in two places at once. From his Pen/Hemingway Award–winning debut novel, Native Speaker, to his Pulitizer Prize finalist The Surrendered to the New Yorker’s inclusion of Lee—along with such touchstone writers as David Foster Wallace, Michael Chabon, Edwidge Danticat and Jeffery Eugenides—as the future of fiction, Lee has long been considered a great American writer. That said, not all great writers are household names. If 2013 could be considered the year of George Saunders, perhaps 2014 will be the year of Chang-rae Lee, whose new book, On Such a Full Sea, is being met with excitement—so much so that the Los Angeles Times asked in its review of the book, “Who is a greater writer today than Chang-rae Lee?”

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