The Foreign Student

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of The Foreign Student

Book description

"This wonderful hybrid of a novel--a love story, a war story, a novel of manners--introduces a writer of enchanting gifts, a beautiful heart wedded to a beautiful imagination. How else does Susan Choi so fully inhabit characters from disparate backgrounds, with such brilliant wit and insight? The Foreign Student stirs…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Foreign Student as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In 1950s Sewanee, Chang and Katherine slowly fall in love and find that the Souths of Korea and Tennessee are not that different after all, both subject to lingering issues of class, family, race, and civil war. I love the poetic language in this novel, as well as its ambitious story and the complexity invested in every relation.

I never ran into Susan, but I could have. While attending Cornell as an undergrad, she was earning her Master's in Fine Arts right there in Ithaca, NY.  But I knew her work way before this novel came out, because in 1992 I read a short story of hers in Epoch, Cornell’s graduate literary magazine. Now I know nothing of Susan’s personal history, but I had a feeling when I read The Foreign Student that this story, a torrid romance between a Korean man and a Caucasian woman in the mid-1950s Deep South, was truly hers. I’m not saying…

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