My Year Abroad Pdf Summary
From the award-winning author of Native Speaker and On Such a Full Sea, an exuberant, provocative story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure – and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection.
Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself.
In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion—on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.
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My Year Abroad Review
TOP 500 REVIEWER
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, twisted, crazy, and a wonderful protagonist
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 9, 2021
I cracked this book wide open and could not stop laughing. Then some sinister stuff set in and I was a bit freaked out. While I had a strong urge to pull in the reins, I was simultaneously greedier for more.
20-year-old Tiller is stuck. In his small east coast college town having grown up motherless with a dad who is nice enough, but they are just two ships barely crossing in the daytime. We meet him in the Hong Kong airport on his way back from what is clearly some sort of random trip when he runs into a single mother and her son who are out of sorts and out of money. Destination New Jersey, all three of them, where they end up together.
Tiller and his new compatriots Val and Victor Jr. create the most unusual life together, which includes – a home in an off-grid suburb, perfect for the witness protection program which she happens to be in, little Veej (the kid’s nickname) is homeschooled, and they are sustained by a bottomless ATM card.
Things get weird. Like off the rails. There isn’t much background about Val, but we sure do go back in time about where Tiller has been, and it is like falling into a deep, slimy, dark cave that you want to shout at him to get the heck out of. It all starts with a man named Pong, a wealthy, charismatic Chinese entrepreneur who lures him into his world and machinations. Don’t even try to guess what transpires because unless you have met Chang-rae and had an intimate discussion with him about his book, there is no way you could begin to imagine. No spoilers here from me and I couldn’t attempt to explain it, even if I were on hallucinogens. Simply put gambling, karaoke, men’s clubs, fine dining and cheap eats, pain and pleasure. And lots of travel.
I love Tiller. He is funny and observant. He is kind and introspective and will break your heart because his was broken.
You will figure out that there are some deep similarities between the characters. Tiller’s mother was not in his life, he is drawn to a man whom he hopes will lead him in the right direction, more than college can, more than his own father seems to be able to. Val’s husband’s absence has changed the course of her life and as a result, made a profound impact on her son’s.
Tiller and Val both encountered trouble of no fault of their own. I don’t expect you to follow all of this. That’s why Chang-rae wrote the book and I didn’t.
MY YEAR ABROAD is no exchange program. It is like a trip to a carnival gone bad but with a chance for redemption with some interesting characters who don’t turn out to be what you expect at all. And they will keep you laughing. You just need to be able to stomach some twisted stuff. I have faith in you. I’m here for this book.
2.0 out of 5 stars No real point or payoff to this one.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 9, 2021
I don’t know what to say about this book other than it meanders. The first 100 pages make you think there is going to be a big reveal and you keep reading to see what that is. It never really happens though. The main character is abandoned by his mother at a young age and has a very superficial relationship with his father. When he meets Pong a seemingly successful Chinese American businessman who takes him under his wing and to China on a trip the protagonist is clearly searching for something more than an apprenticeship. He becomes very attached to Pong and looks up to him in many ways.
This is only one half of the story however. The other half is about the main characters time with his girlfriend whom for various reasons in in the witness protection program. He lives with her and her son. The deeper meaning of this part of the story is superficial at best. Honesty it was hard to take this story line seriously after a while. Without any spoilers I will say this: the writing is witty and interesting. However, there are times when the story is not believable and you simply end up questioning why you want to read to the end. I wound up finishing it but considered giving up.
I gave this two stars because of the quality of the writing not for the plot or the character development. Both of which are lacking. This is an easy but long book that I am not sure I can recommend you spend your valuable reading time on. I really wanted to like this. I really did. It just didn’t work for me.
About Chang-rae Lee Author of My Year Abroad Pdf Book
Chang-rae Lee is the Author of My Year Abroad Pdf Book, a Korean-American novelist and a professor of creative writing at Stanford University. He was previously Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton and director of Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing.
My Year Abroad pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Random House Large Print; Large type / Large print edition (March 2, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 672 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593396022
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593396025
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.01 x 1.12 x 9.18 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,775,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,966 in Asian American Literature & Fiction
- #3,412 in Native American Literature (Books)
- #78,797 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 3.9 out of 5 stars 914 ratings
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