You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well--how can you put this delicately?--a loser.You can't speak English, but that doesn't stop you from working at East Meets West, your father's gift shop in a strip mall, where everything is new.Welcome to the wonderful world of David Kim.
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I WAS WAITING TO USE our apartment’s only bathroom, shifting from foot to foot, when the door burst open and my sister walked out, her eyes raw and puffy, followed closely by Mother, arms tautly alert, ready to catch her if she fell, if she melted, if she died.
My sister had chosen this day, my twelfth birthday, to try to kill herself, or at least to pretend to kill herself. Looking back on that day now, I can see it was merely a stunt to gain attention, and even then I think I knew she was bluffing, but still, I couldn’t ignore the blue dish and
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“A tender, funny, beautifully written novel-in-stories, each a sparkling step in the coming-of-age journey of a boy straddling two cultures with remarkable humor and grace. First-time author Sung Woo has created both lasting characters and a timeless portrait of a community.”- A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and Blue Water“In its clear-eyed take on family and community, Everything Asian is Everything American. The proprietors of this roadside New Jersey shopper's village are by turns dreamy and despairing as their fortunes--like the local economy--change. Sung J. Woo has crafted a debut rich in character and event.”- Stewart O’Nan, author of Songs for the Missing“Cleverly concatenated…recounts with both humor and pathos growing up and gradual Americanization. A novel that both delights and instructs.”- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“Sharp, immediate…captures the contemporary immigration struggle, but it is also an elemental family drama of fury and tenderness. A great addition to the titles listed in Booklist’s 'Core Collection: The New Immigration Story' (August 2005).”- Booklist"With a mix of humor and drama, Everything Asian makes a fine addition to recreational reading lists and a good companion to Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese."- School Library Journal“Lovely . . . explores the sweetness and pain of family life, the awkward glory of growing up. Everything Asian glows with delicacy, compassion, and wit.”- Brian Morton, author of PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Starting Out in the Evening and Breakable You“A charming tale of family, community and the struggle for understanding. . . . Woo eschews immigrant clichés to focus on complicated familial relationships and surprising, sympathetic characters. Alternating between humor and melancholy, Woo's text strikes a true chord.”- Publishers Weekly“Wise, unsparing, poignant, devastating, funny: a remarkable novel.”- Chuck Wachtel, author of PEN/Hemingway Citation winner Joe the Engineer and The Gates“Funny, smart and affecting . . . takes on the heartbreak of being the less than ideal Korean American immigrant with a laugh. Sung J. Woo shows himself to be an astute satirist.”- Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh
SUNG J. WOO's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and KoreAm Journal. His short film was an audience choice screening of the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival 2008. A graduate of Cornell University with an MFA from New York University, he lives in Washington, New Jersey.
Sung J. Woo