Thank you @bookclubbish #parkrowbooks (partner) for my gifted copy of ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim & for inviting me on the #Bookstagram Tour! (book release date 9/1)
A profoundly moving & unconventional mother-daughter saga, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee‘ illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant in America.
Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, & finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan & an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.
Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises & perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.
Told through the intimate lens of a mother & daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ is a powerful & exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, & what it truly means to belong.
Told in alternating POV’s (the past & present, Mina & Margot), this is a story that will make a home in your heart for years to come. This book would make an excellent book club choice, too! There are just so many points of discussion in this gorgeous, debut novel.
‘The Last Story of Mina Lee‘ is a gripping, poignant, & often heartbreaking story about a complex mother-daughter relationship: an immigrant parent’s sacrifices & the mystery surrounding her life & her death, & the daughter who longs to reconnect with & understand her, & who now must do so by unraveling the enigma of her mother’s past. I loved learning more about Korean culture as well in this well-written, #ownvoice novel.
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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA & the University of Washington, Seattle. Her essays & short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, NPR/PRI’s Selected Shorts, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Offing, & elsewhere.
Her debut novel, ‘THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE’, is forthcoming from Park Row Books/HarperCollins on September 1, 2020.