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Lee, Chang-Rae. A GESTURE LIFE. New York City, NY: Riverhead Books, 1999. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 356 pages. Fine/Fine. Signed.

The author's second novel. Now considered a contemporary classic. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Chang-rae Lee's "A Gesture Life". The novel that affirmed the author's national and international reputation as one of the most important contemporary voices of American literature, it is "a wise and humane novel that both amplifies the themes of identity and exile that he addressed in 'Native Speaker', and creates a wonderfully resonant portrait of a man caught between two cultures and two lives" (The New York Times). European immigrants came to America to start a new life. In doing so, they wiped the slate clean. Even if they eventually trace their roots back to Europe, there is no such thing as a European-American (there are only "white Americans", defined exclusively by skin "color" rather than culture). The more recent, successive waves of immigrants, including Asians, consisted of individuals and families who were unwilling to give up the culture, heritage, and country itself - "The Past" - that they left behind, which indeed haunt and define every nuance of their lives in America. Hence the rise of hyphenated American literature. It is a reality and experience that has no antecedent or equivalent in the culture, even by Harold Bloom's admission (who does not completely approve of the category), at least not in the way that it captures the subtle yet simmering anguish of holding on to something precious while also embracing the ideas and ways of the adopted New Land. Chang-rae Lee does not write about Koreans in "Native Speaker" and "A Gesture Life". He writes about Americans of Korean descent. What has always set his work apart is its quiet, serene, and meditative tone, a style of writing (as well as a world-view) that the demanding literary critic James Wood has praised for its often poetic beauty. Characteristic of all his previous work, Chang-rae Lee is looking back as thoughtfully and reasonably as he possibly can, on the ironies, paradoxes, and anguished dilemmas of the self-uprooted, self-transplanted individual. Many so-called immigrant writers, even the best ones, are really writing (nostalgically and sentimentally) about an imaginary homeland rather than the real one, making Chang-rae Lee's achievement all the more astonishing. An absolute "must-have" title for Chang-rae Lee collectors. This copy is very boldly and beautifully signed in black pen-marker on the title page by Chang-rae Lee. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. Laid-in is a pristine copy of the Chicago Humanities Festival 2015 Souvenir Program during which event his signature was obtained. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of few signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. Selected by The New Yorker Magazine as one of the "Twenty Writers for the 21st Century". One of the most brilliant living American writers. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER CHANG-RAE LEE TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1573221465. $60.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on September 26, 2017.