Everything Asian

  • Writer
    Sung J. Woo
  • Country
  • Publisher
  • Published Year
  • Genre
    Literature - English and American literatures - Fiction


You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well--how can you put this delicately?--a loser.

You can't speak English, but that doesn't stop you from working at East Meets West, your father's gift shop in a strip mall, where everything is new.

Welcome to the wonderful world of David Kim.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 15, 2008
    In this charming tale of family, community and the struggle for understanding, young Korean immigrant David Kim learns to acculturate to a new American life. After five years on their own in Seoul, 12-year-old David, his big sister and mother reunite with his father in Oakbridge, N.J. Now known as Harry, David's father has a gift shop in a rundown strip mall called Peddlers Town. Though told largely by a grown-up David, some chapters switch to a third-person voice to examine other characters, including members of the Kim family and the other store owners at Peddler's Town (including an American with a cross-dressing son and a down-on-his-luck detective). Woo eschews immigrant clichés to focus on complicated familial relationships and surprising, sympathetic characters; alternating between humor and melancholy, Woo's text strikes a true chord while drawing readers into its strange, strip-mall world.

  • A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and Blue Water

    "A tender, funny, beautifully written novel-in-stories, each a sparkling step in the coming-of-age journey of a boy straddling two cultures with remarkable humor and grace. First-time author Sung Woo has created both lasting characters and a timeless portrait of a community."

  • Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing "In its clear-eyed take on family and community, Everything Asian is Everything American. The proprietors of this roadside New Jersey shopper's village are by turns dreamy and despairing as their fortunes--like the local economy--change. Sung J. Woo has crafted a debut rich in character and event."

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Cleverly concatenated...recounts with both humor and pathos growing up and gradual Americanization. A novel that both delights and instructs."


About the Author