Episode 55 — Catherine Chung


Catherine Chung is the guest.  Her debut novel, Forgotten Country, is now available from Riverhead Books.

Booklist, in a starred review, raves:

Chung’s superb debut examines the twin hearts of cruelty and compassion between sisters in particular and family in general…. This elegantly written, stunningly powerful, simply masterful first novel should earn Chung many fans.

And Publishers Weekly, in another starred review, has this to say:

A beautiful debut novel…woven with tender reflections, sharp renderings of isolation, and beautiful prose….Chung simultaneously shines light on the violence of Korean history, the chill of American xenophobia, and the impossibility of home in either country.

Topics of conversation include:  math, computer science, books, clarity, precision, outlining, drafts, finishing, structure, theme, sisters, estrogen, Korea, separation, family, the Korean War, kidnapping, civil war, tragedy, disconnection, immigrant experience, panic, loss, motivation, parents, understanding, Michigan, libraries, academia, Christianity, Buddhism, cruelty, trust, Marilynne Robinson, conversation, childhood, bad things happening, 8th grade, think-tanks, the sales process, and wanting to break your arm.

Monologue topics:  bullwhips, dancing, Las Vegas, Indiana Jones, Halloween, casinos, writing, misery, multiple-vision POV, TNB’s Facebook page, and recurring nightmares.