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Extended Audio Sample The Surrendered, by Chang-Rae Lee Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,300 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chang-Rae Lee Narrator: James Yaegashi Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner, the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything. Thirty years later and on the other side of the world, June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their past, and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together.

As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[The Surrendered] is epic in scope, masterful in execution, heart stopping at times, and heartbreaking at others. The meticulous narrative unfolds over 52 years and across three continents. Nothing is rushed; nothing is overlooked.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A landmark novel about love and war…Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered…is impossible to put down.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “This is not a happy book, but it is a rewarding one. The Surrendered grabs your attention—sometimes terrifying you in the process—and doesn’t let go until its final moment…Breathtakingly alive.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Extremely well written, powerfully moving in places.”

    New Yorker

  • “Lee’s masterful fourth novel bursts with drama and human anguish as it documents the ravages and indelible effects of war…Powerful, deeply felt, compulsively readable, and imbued with moral gravity, the novel does not peter out into easy redemption. It’s a harrowing tale: bleak, haunting, often heartbreaking—and not to be missed.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A 2010 Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Fiction
  • Selected for the March 2010 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 ALA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2010 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kellie | 2/16/2014

    " The opening chapter is perhaps the most affecting I have ever read. It literally gave me nightmares that pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night to kiss my daughters. It was one of those books that, while you are reading it, seems more vivid than your real life. Lee has a beautiful literary voice and the main character, June, is one of the most unforgettable and real fictional characters of all time (think Briony from Atonement). We meet June when she is an 11-year-old old orphan/refugee during the Korean War, where she is broken by the events that occur there and finds it difficult, for her entire life, to move out of survival mode. The defining event for a second main character, Hector, an American soldier fighting in the war, feels equally real for all its brutality. What keeps this from a five star though is the cumulation of the many tragedies that befall the three primary characters. By the middle of the book, it starts to feel gratuitous. Still, I highly recommend this one. You certainly won't soon forget it, and I felt like I gained real insight into the minds of people who live through the worst of war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Peter Gallo | 2/14/2014

    " Without giving anything away, the central male character is more thoroughly developed than the female. There is an an enormous gap in her history that compromises her development. It seems, a times, a incomplete conflation of two stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Paula Margulies | 2/12/2014

    " Sadly, I put this book down half-way through. There were too many characters with stories interspersed in a random, almost clumsy fashion. Each story was darker than the last, making this a difficult read. Sorry to those who loved it; it just wasn't for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dara Salley | 1/27/2014

    " This book was wonderful. I found every character engaging and sympathetic. There were several times that I could not put it down despite the fact that it was several hours past my bedtime. The most difficult thing about the book was the violence. There were many scenes that were incredibly disturbing. If you can stomach those scenes however, they payoff is an amazing story. What I liked most about the book is that there were no happy endings or morals. In a book about the destruction of war a happy ending would be cheap. Lee is able to confront painful subjects with directness and honesty. "

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