Free Food for Millionaires
Min Jin Lee
Mr B's review
This debut novel mirrors a 19th-century Dickensian epic in its scope – I was drawn in by its exploration of class and status, the different aspects of the Asian-American experience and the sharp social and wealth divides in New York City. Lee dives deeply into the tensions of the second-generation immigrant experience, as Casey Han is torn between the traditional expectations of her Korean family and her ambitions as a Princeton graduate trying to forge a career in the elite, male-dominated world of Wall Street. Casey is both privileged and the underdog – a complex character I didn’t expect to like, but ended up cheering for.
The brilliant debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Pachinko.
‘Ambitious, accomplished, engrossing … As easy to devour as a nineteenth-century romance’ NEW YORK TIMES.
Casey Han’s years at Princeton have given her a refined diction, an enviable golf handicap, a popular white boyfriend and a degree in economics. But no job, and a number of bad habits.
The elder daughter of working-class Korean immigrants, Casey inhabits a New York a world away from that of her parents. As Casey navigates an uneven course of small triumphs and spectacular failures, a clash of values and ambitions plays out against the colourful backdrop of New York society, its many shades and divides.
‘There are two memorable episodes in which an exchange of gifts reveals a gulf in regard and understanding that could have been penned by Austen herself, so well are they judged. The sisters’ stories bowl absorbingly along, while their mother is also permitted a poignant starring role, receiving the same sympathetic treatment Lee extends to almost all her characters’ Daily Mail.
‘It is no exaggeration to say that Lee’s debut deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Eliot’s great doorstopper [Middlemarch]. What is more, it is arguably even more fun’ South China Morning Post.
‘Explores the most fundamental crisis of immigrants’ children … an insight into the secret world of Korean America’ Observer.
‘Exquisitely evoked … an epic meditation on love’ USA Today.
‘This big, beguiling book has all the distinguishing marks of a Great American Novel … [a] remarkable writer’ The Times.
‘Ambitious, accomplished, engrossing … as easy to devour as a 19th-century romance’ New York Times.
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