East Goes West

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EAST GOES WEST
by Younghill Kang
published by Penguin

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Having fled Japanese-occupied Korea for the gleaming promise of the United States, the young, idealistic Chungpa Han lands in New York with nothing but four dollars and a suitcase full of Shakespeare to his name. The America into which Han arrives is one teeming with recent arrivals, expatriates, businessmen, students, indigents, and scholars hailing from Korea, China, and Italy as well as Harlem, Boston, and Greenwich Village. Struggling to support his studies, Han becomes by turns traveling salesman, domestic worker, and farmer. In the process, he observes the idealism, greed, and shifting values of the industrializing twentieth century.

Part picaresque adventure, part shrewd social commentary, East Goes West casts a sharply satirical eye on the demands and perils of assimilation as it follows Han's travels through the United States and Canada. With its beautifully nuanced portrayal of Han's spiritual evolutions and revolutions, its richly detailed examination of a cosmopolitan immigrant subculture, and its biting portraits of racism, alienation, and hypocrisy at every level of society, East Goes West is a masterpiece not only of Asian American literature but also of American literature.

- paperback: 384 pages
- product dimensions: 131 x 198 mm
- ISBN: 9780143134305