The Guardian
The Guardian - The future of fiction
“Krys Lee . . . explores a variety of styles in her debut short story collection Drifting House”

The Rumpus
The Rumpus

Kartika
Kartika

SF Gate
San Francisco Chronicle
“It is the cool telling that allows the tectonic plates of history, social forces and circumstances to move beneath these stories, conveying the feeling that something urgent and profound is at stake, beyond the lives of these striving, damaged and unforgettable characters.”

NPR
NPR.org
“...a justly heralded collection...Lee...is well on her way to a promising literary career.”

Economist
The Economist
“Identity, loneliness and survival haunt Drifting House, Krys Lee’s debut collection of short stories. . . . Ms Lee has a natural gift for storytelling and her writing displays a rare clarity. The dark images embedded in these stories reveal a world ravaged by pain and conflict, and explore what drives human beings at their most primordial.”

Daily Beast
The Daily Beast
“Must-Reads”: “Drifting House offers a rare look at how damaging politics takes a personal turn, undermining even what we are able to call home.”

Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Star
“Breathtaking. . . . Drifting House has shades of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth in its rendering of split cultural identities. But even more, it recalls Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness, holding beauty and brutality in an elegant equipoise. . . . In her textured, knowing and brilliant debut, Lee tells hard truths, tenderly.”

The Telegraph
The Telegraph
“Stunning. . . . There is a stark beauty to Lee’s writing. Drifting House offers a poignant glimpse into lives divided by history. . . . If you were to substitute the copious soju (a strong Korean spirit similar to sake) consumed here for bourbon, this could be Raymond Carver.”

The Guardian
The Guardian
“If there’s one thing Krys Lee knows how to do it’s use history and culture as the boards and backdrop of a narrative while allowing her characters to take centre-stage. . . . The two finest stories in the collection, ‘Drifting House’ and ‘The Believer,’ achieve extraordinary feats within a few pages - murder, madness, haunting, loss of faith and more.”

Seattle Post Intelligencer
The Seattle Post Intelligencer
“If you are a short story lover, a reader who isn’t afraid of true things, a person who knows every other person around them hides multitudes of both light and dark secrets, read Drifting House.”

The Sunday Times
“Set in both America and Korea, these are subtle, haunting stories that explore the lives of people caught between two cultures.”

The Financial Times
The Financial Times
“..a powerful debut collection...by showing these authentic, everyday people at dramatic and pivotal moments, Krys Lee strips them to the core of their humanity. Her vision is a solemn one, but an important one too.”

Hyphen
Hyphen
“[An] excellent debut. . . . Lee explores and highlights several aspects of Koreans and Korean Americans that are never discussed outside of the confines of those cultures. . . . Lee manages to accomplish a massive task: to explore modern Koreans and their place in both the U.S. and at home, in Seoul. Lee herself straddles both of these cultures, and proves to be a worthy ambassador for both.”

Los Angeles Review of Books
The Los Angeles Review of Books
“However dark their fates might be, Lee blesses her characters with passions forged from the flames of suffering. The survivors of Drifting House are those who dare to find their salvation in small moments of beauty and connection, who have endured great losses, but pick themselves up and keep moving forward. . . . Drifting House reminds us of the illumination that comes from recognizing the shakiness of the ground under our feet. We tell ourselves that we are in control of our stories, but we never are. Lee’s survivors know the truth: Control isn’t possible. Once we accept that, we take our first, small steps toward grace.”

SF Weekly
SF Weekly
“As they sift through the emotional wreckage left by civil war, political brutalities, financial collapse, and the prosaic details of getting by in places they’re unwelcome, the individuals in Drifting House reach for resilience amid nearly unimaginable hardship. Lee, who splits her time between South Korea and the United States, is an empathetic chronicler of a perpetually displaced people, writing with the immediacy of someone who has lived their experience.”

Asia Literary Review
Asia Literary Review
“Impressive. . . . The moral battle between good and evil that resonates through this collection reminds the reader of much of Flannery O’Connor’s short fiction.”

Groove Magazine
Groove Magazine
“Stories like ‘The Goose Father’ and ‘The Salaryman’ explore the lives of middle-aged Korean men whose personal sacrifices reflect the bleak realities of modern life post-‘IMF crisis,’ where once-respected family patriarchs became disposable cogs in the working wheel. In contrast to the heartlessness of the city and the heartbreak of the suburbs, the title story, ‘Drifting House,’ sheds sober light on the harrowing flight of two brothers crossing into China from North Korea where ‘behind them, there were the shadows.’ In spite of such solemnity of subject matter, Lee’s prose is unembellished, with the occasional bit of humor thrown in as glimpsed through the eyes of the child protagonists in ‘At the Edge of the World’ and ‘The Pastor’s Son.’”

Korean Herald
Korean Herald
“In these stories, Lee makes keen and engrossing observations on Korea’s hierarchical work culture, office politics, and the contemporary Korean family life.”

The Nation
The Nation (Thailand)
“Korean-American author Krys Lee paints an extraordinary portrait of the trials of immigrants in her debut collection of short stories.”

Korea Times
Korea Times
“The book, released last year, has earned praise here and abroad for Lee, who was born in Korea but raised abroad. It deserves another look as a meditation on the price of Korea’s development.”

The Seattle Star
The Seattle Star
“Almost every story in Krys Lee’s collection Drifting House pulls you in, and begins to work with you as patiently as a novel. A bit of deft characterization here, a subtle pull at your sympathies there, and twenty pages pass quickly by.”

The Washington Independent Review of Books
The Washington Independent Review of Books
Drifting House . . . lays bare [the] wounds of Korea and draws the reader into this fractured world. . . . Krys Lee does not work on a small canvas, and her vision and imagination startle and shock.”

Star Tribune
Star Tribune
“Lee...is already a precise stylist and an unflinching observer of the unfortunate lot of her compatriots...Lee’s psychological acuity is empathetic under its unsentimental portraiture.”

The National
The National
“This fine young writer is more likely to break a reader’s heart.”

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Krys Lee’s debut collection of short fiction is a ‘keen observation’ of a multifaceted society.”

Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2011
(starred review) “In this sublime debut collection spanning both Koreas and America, protagonists locked in by oppressive social forces struggle to break free in original ways, each unexpected denouement a minor miracle (“The Goose Father”) or a perfect tragedy (“Drifting House”)...The limpid, naturalistic prose and the flawless internal logic of these stories are reminiscent of the best of Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers.”

Kirkus Review
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2011
(starred review) “Affecting stories...Lee writes with a clarity and simplicity of style that discloses deep and conflicting emotions about cultural identity.”

Library Journal
Library Journal, November 1, 2011
(starred review) “Like Daniyal Mueenuddin, a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist for his debut collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Lee, too, enters the literary world fully formed. Readers in search of exquisite short fiction beyond their comfort zone—groupies of Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) and Yoko Tawada (Where Europe Begins)—will thrill to discover Lee’s work.”

BookBrowse
BookBrowse
“A shimmering, variegated collection. . . . Masterful. . . . Lee reminds readers . . . that hardship is worth paying attention to, not just for the empathy it draws forth, or for the strength found in characters who manage to come out on the other side, but for its ability to connect people across time and cultures.”

“What wonderful and haunting worlds Krys Lee illuminates—a goose for a goose father, a sympathetic wife made bold by her husband’s infidelity—all facets of a Korea and a Korean America made new by this exciting writer’s entrancing vision.”

—Janice Y. K. Lee, author of New York Times bestselling The Piano Teacher


“Sometimes, with luck, passion, and great skill, fiction accomplishes things nothing else can, things of magical and abiding significance. Krys Lee’s debut story collection is such a book. Drifting House is important for its heartbreaking depiction of the often horrifying plight of North and South Korean immigrants struggling to find dignity and self-definition in their new lives. It introduces us to a subject as old as human struggle itself, and a powerful new writer of highly lyrical gifts.”

—Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Failure

“Krys Lee’s fascinating stories take place in gaps in the world, the surreal places that are in fact reality for her Korean characters, both at home and abroad. In those interstices there is horror and humor; there is sometimes haunting sadness, and there is on occasion grace.”

—Jane Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author of A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth


“Krys Lee has written a book of unforgettable stories, each one building on the other to create a complex, moving portrait of contemporary Korea and its diaspora. She guides us surely through the fallout of war, immigration, and financial crisis, always alert to the possibility of tenderness, transcendence, and even humor along the way. Lee is a writer who really understands loneliness, but her voice is so appealing, and her perceptions so wise, that we feel all the less lonely for knowing her characters and experiencing their lives.”

—Sarah Shun–lien Bynum, National Book Award finalist and author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles