Brandt & Hochman Agency
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Relegation Books (2016-10-18)
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by Chung, Sonya

In this masterful novel of inheritance and loss, Sonya Chung (Long for This World) proves herself a worthy heir to Marguerite Duras, Hwang Sun-won, and James Salter. Spanning generations and divergent cultures, The Loved Ones maps the intimate politics of unlikely attractions, illicit love, and costly reconciliations.

Charles Lee, the young African American patriarch of a biracial family, seeks to remedy his fatherless childhood in Washington, DC, by making an honorable choice when his chance arrives. Years later in the mid-1980s, uneasy and stymied in his marriage to Alice, he finds a connection with Hannah Lee, the teenage Korean American caregiver whose parents' transgressive flight from tradition and war has left them shrouded in a cloud of secrets and muted passion.

A shocking and senseless death will test every familial bond and force all who are touched by the tragedy to reexamine who their loved ones truly are--the very meaning of the words. Haunting, elliptical, and powerful, The Loved Ones deconstructs the world we think we know and shows us the one we inhabit.

Sonya Chung is the author of the novel Long for This World. She was born in Washington, DC, and graduated from Columbia University and the University of Washington. Currently she lives in New York City and teaches fiction writing at Skidmore College.

Available rights (48)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
Albanian World All

Brandt & Hochman Agency
Marianne Merola

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Arabic World All

Brandt & Hochman Agency
Marianne Merola

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Belarusian World All

Brandt & Hochman Agency
Marianne Merola

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Bosnian World All

Brandt & Hochman Agency
Marianne Merola

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Brazilian Portuguese World All

Brandt & Hochman Agency
Marianne Merola

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I love the intricate way Sonya Chung weaves silence, watchfulness, stillness and patience into the life fabric of her disparate characters in THE LOVED ONES. The world around them is often harsh and mystifying, but Chung explores the big questions (life, death, love, family, race and more) through an intimate lens, as we gradually discover who lives behind these silences. We feel what they feel, and are changed by reading our way into their lives. That is the rare and precious gift Chung offers us in her novel. As a former longtime independent bookseller, I can say without hesitation that this is the kind of book I was always seeking, one that I could place in the hands of a customer and say, ‘You must read this!

Quote: Robert Gray, editor at Shelf Awareness

Chung takes us from 1951 to 2005 and from Washington D.C. to Korea and Paris, drastically reframing our world by exploring difficult ideas and raising awareness of our capacity for empathy. Part immigrant narrative, part coming-of-age fiction, with interwoven themes of interracial marriage, the role of absentee fathers, and the continued hold of the past, this tale charts a nuanced journey that follows no convenient tropes… A book full of complex characters and plot twists… Chung’s adeptness in capturing the soaring drama of subdued interactions makes this worth a read. But it is her ability to be at once subversive and optimistic, radical and reassuring that makes this a must-read.

Review: Booklist

Kirkus has named it one of the Best Books of Fiction of 2016.

Quote: Kirkus

An effortlessly and elegantly written tale of family, with introspective insight into the issue of race; for all readers.

Review: Library Journal

This book is the definition of heart-wrenching.

Review: Bustle

Probing and heartbreaking... an intricate story of loss and love across generations and cultures.

Review: Refinery 29

A gorgeous multigenerational saga of love and race, loss and belonging… Every last one of Chung's characters is wholly alive and breathtakingly human, but it's her portrait of teenage Hannah—always complicated, never romanticized—that makes the novel such a heart-wrenching pleasure. Elegant and empathetic, a book impossible to put down.

Review: Kirkus

Sonya Chung's prose is elegant, sparse, and heartbreaking in a way that reminds one of Elena Ferrante or Clarice Lispector. In this novel of two very different but interconnected families both named Lee, she tells the story of love against the twin inheritances of shame and grief. This book is a complication of the immigrant narrative in a way that is long overdue and necessary. A gorgeous and important second novel.

Quote: Nayomi Munaweera, author

A talent to reckon with...this moving, masterful work captures the lives of generations. Chung’s prose is elegant and powerful, and this is a book that will stay with you for long after you’ve read it.

Review: Nylon

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