Judy Lee’s life has not turned out the way she’d imagined. She’s divorced, she’s broke, and her dreams of being a painter have fallen by the wayside. Her co-worker Roger might be a member of the Yakuza gang, but he’s also the only person who’s asked her on a date in the last year.Meanwhile, her bother Kevin, an former professional tennis player, has decided to donate a kidney to their ailing father — until it turns out that he’s not a genetic match. His father reluctantly tells him he was adopted, but the only information Kevin is given about his birth parents is a nude picture of his birth mother. Ultimately Kevin’s quest to learn the truth about his biological parents takes him across lines he never thought he’d cross: from tony Princeton to San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin district, from the squeaky clean tennis court to the gritty adult film industry. Told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Judy and Kevin, Love Love is a story about two people figuring out how to live, how to love, and how to be their best selves amidst the chaos of their lives.
Woo, whose 2009 debut novel, Everything Asian, was a Korean American immigrant tale that was somewhat autobiographical, has accomplished something very significant with his latest work. In the tradition of such American classics as John Steinbeck’s East of Eden or Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Love Love explores the impossibility of breaking free from patterns and the hopeless fallacy that, as our parents’ offspring, we will be able to start life with a clean slate.
Woo’s poignant, engrossing follow up to 2009’s Everything Asian chronicles the lives of two adult siblings...Woo’s narrative takes serendipitous turns--he has a knack for making these twists seem organic, like things that would happen in life. Scenes recounting memories of family and lost love are also skillfully interspersed.
Woo’s observations about aging, loss, and disillusionment are so smart, so sharp and astute that they’ll haunt readers long after the final page has been turned. That he manages to find the beauty, humor, and even optimism in the struggle makes this glorious, at times painful, but always rewarding novel a stunning achievement.
Woo’s narrative takes serendipitous turns--he has a knack for making these twists seem organic, like things that would happen in life. Scenes recounting memories of family and lost love are also skillfully interspersed.
A writer of deep pathos and empathy, Woo (Everything Asian, 2009) has given us a deeply felt novel of parents and children, husbands and wives--the many ways we try to connect and fail; and how sometimes, somehow, we succeed.
You will love Love Love. Like Kevin on the tennis court, Sung J. Woo marries brute force with clever misdirection; brilliant flourishes with measured restraint; craft with strategy. The result is a gem of a novel, by turns poignant, heartbreaking and wickedly funny. The only dangling thread: when’s the film adaptation coming out?
Love Love is sad and funny and full of absolutely brilliant writing.
Love Love is a wonderful book about two characters I fell for instantly. I was hooked by the novel’s unexpected twists and pitfalls, which kept me on the edge of my seat all the way until the end. Sung J. Woo’s sure voice and beautiful descriptions will seduce any reader who enjoys a good story about love that doesn’t come easy. A great read.
With antic humor and boundless sympathy, Sung J. Woo gives his broken characters something to reach for. Love Love is an ace.
Sung J. Woo’s Love Love is a wonderful read -- funny, tender, touching, and true. This is the novel about tennis, porn, art, and family that the world has been waiting for.
Sung J. Woo has written a surprising, moving novel that powerfully explores notions of family, creativity, skill, and -- ye
This tale of unconventional love in unconventional families is funny, knowing, and always surprising. Love Love has got it all: tennis, of course, but also organized crime, pornography, a venomous snake, and more twists than a bag of Rold Golds. Give it half a chance and it will charm the terry-cloth headband off you.
Full of wit, humor and heart, the book succinctly captures the struggle of an immigrant child trying to fit into American society -- and in his own dysfunctional family.
A novel that both delights and instructs.
There’s a certain genius inherent in choosing a strip mall as a 1980s period setting, and Woo makes the most of it, filling the book with the way customers’ and neighboring storeowners’ lives touch - sometimes only glancingly - on the three Kims’ first year in America. . . . Woo has cleverly constructed a central narrative that runs like a Venn diagram through the tour of Peddlers Town.