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Native Speaker


Henry Park is a private eye in New York City. To all outward appearances he is the smooth professional, but Henry's carefully constructed world is ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Native Speaker

Average rating
4 out of 5 stars
  • Great piece of 1990s American lit Sep 6, 2010
    by ninthchord

    Henry Park, a Korean American, works for a spy agency and collects information on immigrant Koreans. Throughout the book, he works toward comfort with his Korean and American identities. He is aware that he speaks impeccable English and is slowly finding Korean difficult to understand. His next mission is to collect information on John Kwang, a local politician, also Korean American, who seems to be capable of uniting the various immigrant communities in New York City.

    I thought the book was wonderful. One problem I had was that I didn't understand a plot twist when it occurred. I don't want to explain because it would ruin the book, but I thought it could have been explained in a more revealing and less confusing way. However, Lee's prose is impeccable. It makes me a bit jealous. Here is a man who, I'm assuming, grew up in a bilingual household with broken English spoken around him, but he writes in English better than I ever could. I have high respect for that.

    I see this book as becoming one of the most respected pieces of American literature to come out of the 1990s. America is really becoming a nation full of immigrant literature, and I think this is the next big genre of American lit: serious American works on the roles and identities of immigrants in America. We are no longer a nation of white people reading works by white people.

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