Native Speaker

Books on Tape. Apr. 2022. 11:01 hrs. ISBN 9780593662724. $85.50. F
Lee’s (On Such a Full Sea) award-winning first novel originally appeared in print in 1996. First-generation Korean American Henry Park is happily married to a white American speech therapist, until their son dies in a tragic accident. In New York, Henry works for a spy-for-hire company that infiltrates organizations and gathers information requested by clients. He is assigned to shadow a Korean American running for city council. Circumstances at home and at work confront him with cultural differences, bias, racism, violence, and both inter- and intra-ethnic fighting. The numerous inner conflicts cause Henry to lose his incentive to continue his work, while the political campaign implodes. Lee captures the sea of issues immigrants and first-generation Americans face. Ingrained traditions conflict with the aspiration to become American, leaving immigrants feeling alienated from both cultures. The story is beautifully performed by David Colacci, including convincing accents for the many nationalities represented.
VERDICT Recommended for listeners of general fiction.
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