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The Last Story of Mina Lee
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Publication date: September 01, 2020

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The Last Story of Mina Lee

A Novel

By Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Narrated by Greta Jung / 10 hours 43 minutes

A poignant mother-daughter story and surprising mystery, The Last Story of Mina Lee is an electrifying debut novel that illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant in America.

“Suspenseful and deeply felt.” —Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists

“Fans of Amy Tan and Kristin Hannah will love Kim’s brilliant debut.” —Booklist, starred review

“Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a knockout.” —Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous 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 string of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a profound family saga that explores identity, secrets and what it truly means to belong.

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“Nancy Jooyoun Kim’s debut carefully illuminates the two sides of the silence between a Korean immigrant mother and her Korean American daughter, a silence only too familiar to many of us—and emerges with a stunningly powerful and original novel about social class, immigration and family. Kim is a brilliant new voice in American fiction.”

Alexander Chee, bestselling author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

“Suspenseful and deeply felt… Nancy Jooyoun Kim's debut artfully explores a diverse range of immigrant experiences, the meaning of family and home, and the nature of language—how it can be an ocean that divides, or a bridge that connects. In the process, The Last Story of Mina Lee raises questions about the reality of the American dream and illuminates stories that often go untold, in life as well as fiction.”

Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists

The Last Story of Mina Lee is a fierce, gripping call to love and memory. Nancy Jooyoun Kim has written a beautiful debut novel that is unafraid to delve into the scary, deeply vulnerable places of our hearts. It's a riveting dance between mother and daughter, moving fluidly back and forth through time, documenting the quiet traumas that can divide generations. Tremendously readable, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a real page-turner and Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a knockout.”

Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

About the Author

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Washington, Seattle. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, NPR/PRI’s Selected Shorts, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Offing and elsewhere. The Last Story of Mina Lee is her first novel.


Reviews

“Haunting and heartbreaking, troubled threads between a mother and daughter blend together in a delicate and rich weave… With both sadness and beauty, [Kim] describes grief, regret, loss, and the feeling of being left behind. Fans of Amy Tan and Kristin Hannah will love Kim's brilliant debut.”

Booklist, STARRED review

The Last Story of Mina Lee is a family story that will seep into your subconscious and make you reevaluate everything you know about your history. In 2014 Margot goes to visit her mother and finds her dead in her apartment. The police rule it an accident but Margot does not believe it and thus embarks on a search to understand her mother's life and history. The narration alternates with Mina Lee's story leading up to the events of her death, following her arrival in the US as a widowed immigrant from South Korea. As we learn more about Mina I wanted to leap into the story to help her find her way and save her from choices of which we already know the outcome. With a surprising mystery, this is a mother-daughter story with a tragic heart and a reminder that none of us can truly know everything about the ones we love.”

Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books

The Last Story of Mina Lee is a beautiful debut novel for Nancy Jooyoun Kim. It made me laugh, cry, and wish for one more conversation with my late mother. Terrific story full of imagery and a self-conscious look at being an immigrant in America. Highly recommending.”

Barbara Carbone, An Unlikely Story

Author
Narrator Greta Jung
ISBN 9781488210211
Length 10 hours 43 minutes
Language English
Publisher Harlequin Audio
Publication date
Edition Unabridged
Libro.fm rank #53,191 Overall
Genre rank #110 in Asian American Voices

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