• The Foreign Student

  • A Novel
  • By: Susan Choi
  • Narrated by: Daniel K. Isaac
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (206 ratings)

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The Foreign Student  By  cover art

The Foreign Student

By: Susan Choi
Narrated by: Daniel K. Isaac
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Publisher's summary

Highly acclaimed by critics, The Foreign Student is the story of a young Korean man, scarred by war, and the deeply troubled daughter of a wealthy Southern American family. 

In 1955, a new student arrives at a small college in the Tennessee mountains. Chuck is shy, speaks English haltingly, and on the subject of his earlier life in Korea he will not speak at all. Then he meets Katherine, a beautiful and solitary young woman who, like Chuck, is haunted by some dark episode in her past. Without quite knowing why, these two outsiders are drawn together, each sensing in the other the possibility of salvation. Moving between the American South and South Korea, between an adolescent girl’s sexual awakening and a young man’s nightmarish memories of war, The Foreign Student is a powerful and emotionally gripping work of fiction.

©2009 Susan Choi (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Foreign Student

Average customer ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
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A beautiful story

This was so well written! I was immersed in the characters and was on the edge of my seat when Chuck’s past was illuminated. They led very different lives, yet Chuck and Katherine both knew loss, secrets and experienced being outsiders. I definitely recommend!

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7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Waste of time.

This story contains vulgar language, pedophilia, and has nothing to redeem it. A waste of time.

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4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn’t even finish

After nine hours in a couldn’t go further. Another 21 hours seemed like it would be torture. No apparent plot unfolded, lots of seemingly unneeded character details. The narrator’s voice was soporific, so not a book to listen to while commuting Gave up. First time ever to do so.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

Nothing to catch my interest . No literary clues, suspense, drama, romance, it felt like the story of a robot. The monotone presentation was very mechanical, Which is probably why it gave it such a robotic fuel. I read Pachinko which is a five star novel try that one instead.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Slow moving but lyrical

A story about a young Korean man, survivor of the Korean War, who migrated to the US to escape his past. This is an unfamiliar story for many English readers and therefore important to hear. Although I appreciated the topic and found the writing to be lush and lyrical, I got confused by the multiple shifts in POV and time. Although everything came together in the end, I almost gave up a few times because I couldn’t follow the narrative thread. I’m not sorry I stuck with it but it was slow going in places.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Travel through the life of an immigrant

This is a very long book, at times confusing, but everything relevant to understand the boy/man at the center of the story. I’ve never been to Korea, but have visited Vietnam and Cambodia- both with war torn histories, and both where it is hard to determine if US involvement was a blessing or simply prolonged the horror. The kindness of the girl/woman in this story- raised in another reality, and her capacity to love, is inspiring. I hope that they ended up together. Like visiting these war torn countries, i will never be able to fully understand the terror of those times, both psychologically and physically but from my very limited experience this story shows me why it is important to look outside ourselves and open ourselves to the many cultures off our planet and try to understand.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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An emotional journey

Well done presentation of a difficult period in history, as detailed by one young man’s journey. Prepare for many characters (some likable, some not). I recommend this.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful Story

narrator did great job except made Chang/Chuck sound unintelligent. I liked how he said "no," though. Good story, and provoded insite into the Korean War.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully rich writing

Vivid descriptions of people and places make this unusual story about a Korean student at a small Southern college in the late 1950s a surprisingly rich narrative. Beautifully narrated. A great Audible Prime Catalog selection!

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