Long for This World

  • Writer
    Sonya Chung
  • Country
  • Publisher
  • Published Year
  • Genre
    Literature - English and American literatures - Fiction


Pushcart Prize nominee Sonya Chung has displayed her stunning talent in her award-winning short fiction and essays. Now, she renders the compelling story of a troubled family straddling cultures, fleeing and searching, in her piercing and profoundly humane first novel.

In 1953, on a small island in Korea, a young boy stows away on the ferry that is carrying his older brother and his wife to the mainland. Fifty-two years later, Han Hyun-kyu is on a plane flying back to Korea, leaving behind his own wife in America. It is his daughter, Jane a war photographer recently injured in a bombing in Baghdad and forced to return to New York who journeys to find him in the small town in South Korea where his brothers have settled. Here, father and daughter take refuge from their demons, flirt with passion, and, in the wake of tragedy, discover something deeper and more enduring than they could have imagined.

Just as Monica Ali's Brick Lane introduced readers to a world that is both exotic and immediate, Long for This World illuminates the complexities and the richness of family bonds and establishes Chung as an exciting new voice in fiction.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 4, 2010
    When Han Hyun-ku appears on the doorstep of his younger brother’s home in Korea nearly 40 years after he immigrated to America, the far-flung members of the Han family find their lives unexpectedly intersecting in this elegant debut novel. Han Hyun-ku’s adult daughter, Jane, a photojournalist who narrowly escaped death from an explosion in Baghdad, follows her father to Korea, inwardly pleased that he has left behind her alcoholic, self-centered mother. Meanwhile, Jane cannot shake her memories of the harrowing experience that ended her longtime relationship with her ex and sent her to Baghdad. In Korea, Han Jung-joo, Han Hyun-ku’s sister-in-law, accepts the arrival of these unexpected guests with her usual serenity, but as her worry for her pregnant, troubled daughter grows, the household begins to break apart. Han Jung-joo’s younger brother, a divorced artist, arrives, precipitating events that change everyone’s lives forever. Switching deftly between different characters’ points of view, Chung portrays with precision and grace each character’s struggle to find his or her place in the family and in the world.


About the Author