Allyssa Lee
September 29, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Secondhand World

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Katherine Min
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Growing up in Albany, N.Y., in the 1960s and ’70s, Isadora ”Isa” Myung Hee Sohn is caught between her Korean self and her American world, fumbling to make sense of them both. It’s a standard cross-cultural story, but in her debut novel, Katherine Min takes care not to slip into stereotype by admirably capturing the depth and complexity within Isa and her immigrant family. Isa’s adolescence unfolds in short chapters that read like impressionistic sketches — from the tragic loss of her brother to the realization of her parents’ fallibility to the sharp pangs of first love — that resonate strongly in Min’s quietly affecting Secondhand World.

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