a novel by Chang-rae Lee
This podcast contains spoilers – how do you talk about this amazing novel without talking about it?
One thing we didn’t get to talk about is the nature of the narration in terms of what is actually known in the novel and what is the narrator making up. What are the stories we tell ourselves? How do they both give us hope and keep us compliant in an unhealthy world filled with inequality?
The “we” of Lee’s novel can only say for sure that Fan left B-Mor (and what a lovely name, be more … what? Dutiful? Compliant?). Once she leaves, there seems to be little evidence that they could actually follow her journey. So they ask themselves, why did she leave duty and home and safety, and what will she face outside these walls?
This novel takes scissors to so many cultural knots … my whole world view unravels in the face of this “we” who both need the hope of escape and the safety of what they know.