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Publisher's Summary

INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“A manifesto to happiness - the one found when you stop running from who you are.” (New York Times Book Review)

“An extraordinary book, acrobatic on the level of the sentence, symphonic across its many movements - and this is a book that moves…My Year Abroad is a wild ride - a caper, a romance, a bildungsroman, and something of a satire of how to get filthy rich in rising Asia.” (Vogue)

From the award-winning author of Native Speaker and On Such a Full Sea, an exuberant, provocative story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure - and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection.  

Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself. 

In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion - on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.

©2020 Chang-rae Lee (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Worst narration ever

Returning after 20 minutes. Horrendous, grating narration. No cadence, mispronunciations galore and not stopping for commas. Yikes. Will look for the printed version.

9 people found this helpful

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Exceeds the hype!

Extraordinary novel and worth the hype. Equal part a fluky novel of ideas, grand guignol and a bildungsroman in the context of globalization. Narration is pitch perfect.

2 people found this helpful

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Sooooo many words

I set my sleep timer for 50 minutes. I drifted off to sleep with the protagonists talking about a watermelon. I woke up this morning and pressed play, and he was STILL talking about the watermelon. I like descriptive writing, but the author goes off on so many tangents that it will literally bore you to sleep. But don’t worry it can run for an hour after you fall asleep and you won’t miss anything.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent storytelling

The details in the writing made me feel I was there with the characters. Must read (listen to) more from this young and very talented writer. The narrator also brought the varied dialects alive.

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Amazing performance by Lawrence Kao!

Amazing performance by Lawrence Kao! can't wait to listen to more books narrated by him!

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exceptional narration

our author has a vast vocabulary and uses them to great advantage to describe most scenes, including those various goodie treks he guides us through.
I most enjoyed the various voices he used to clearly help us identify the important characters, from chinese Pong to southern Belle Sondra, he has a great span of voices.

the story does lag at times. sometimes it's necessary to feel how long and hot the Chinese summers can be..but I waited until the end for some summation of his handiwork causing him to be placed into protective custody and its still a mystery to me. I must have zoned out, or the author is not concerned with trying to tie up loose details