I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for this wonderful yet at times heart-breaking story about a mother and daughter: The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. I loved this book so much!
Here’s the overview:
THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE (on sale: September 1, 2020; Park Row Books; Hardcover; $27.99 US/ $34.99 CAN). opens when Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, doesn’t return her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, Los Angeles, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous and invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.
Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.
I love stories that deal with family relationships and Asian culture, and some of my favorite authors are masters of portraying those familial bonds (e.g. Amy Tan, Celeste Ng, Lisa See). This was such a touching and well-written story. It made me cry! I think throughout, though, I was impressed that the character of Mina – while deceased for the entire novel – was still such a memorable and vibrant character. She was so relatable. I think that this was the strongest aspect of this remarkable debut novel: the development of the characters.
Strongly recommended! Thank you so much for including me in the tour and for my electronic ARC.
Here’s a bit about Ms. Kim and ways to get this book:
Buy Links: (provided by HC and not affiliated with BBNB)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA and the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Offing, the blogs of Prairie Schooner and Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Her essay, “Love (or Live Cargo),” was performed for NPR/PRI’s Selected Shorts in 2017 with stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Phil Klay, and Etgar Keret. THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE is her first novel.