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The Leavers
by Lisa Ko


Overview - FINALIST FOR THE 2017 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

"There was a time I would have called Lisa Ko's novel beautifully written, ambitious, and moving, and all of that is true, but it's more than that now: if you want to understand a forgotten and essential part of the world we live in, The Leavers is required reading."
--Ann Patchett,  author of Commonwealth

Lisa Ko's powerful debut, The Leavers , is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.
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More About The Leavers by Lisa Ko
 
 
 
Overview
FINALIST FOR THE 2017 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

"There was a time I would have called Lisa Ko's novel beautifully written, ambitious, and moving, and all of that is true, but it's more than that now: if you want to understand a forgotten and essential part of the world we live in, The Leavers is required reading."
--Ann Patchett,  author of Commonwealth

Lisa Ko's powerful debut, The Leavers, is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.

One morning, Deming Guo's mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon--and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.
With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents' desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.
Told from the perspective of both Daniel--as he grows into a directionless young man--and Polly, Ko's novel gives us one of fiction's most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another.
Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It's a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.


Lisa Ko's fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, Apogee Journal, Narrative, Copper Nickel, the Asian Pacific American Journal, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Writers OMI at Ledig House, the Jerome Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center, among others. She was born in New York City, where she now lives. Visit her at lisa-ko.com.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781616206888
  • ISBN-10: 1616206888
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Coming of Age
Books > Fiction > Cultural Heritage
Books > Fiction > Asian American

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-02-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

Kos debut is a sweeping examination of family through the eyes of a single mother, a Chinese immigrant, and her U.S.-born son, whose separation haunts and defines their lives. Eleven-year-old Demings mother, Polly, suddenly disappears from the nail salon where she works, leaving him at the Bronx apartment they share with her boyfriend, Leon, Leons sister, and her 10-year-old son. Weeks later, Deming is handed over to a new familywhite suburban college teachers Kay and Peter, who name him Daniel. But it hardly guarantees a storybook ending; Daniel fails in college and struggles to make it as a musician. And then he learns that his missing mother is alive. The narration is then taken over by Polly, who describes her journey to America as an unwed pregnant teenager, and the cramped living arrangements and low-paying jobs that finally take her and Deming to the Bronx. It was a funny thing, forgiveness, Deming finds. You could spend years being angry with someone and then realize you no longer feel the same. Kos stunning tale of love and loyaltyto family, to countryis a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America, and is as timely as ever. (Apr.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews