The Last Story of Mina Lee

The Last Story of Mina Lee

Book - 2020
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Margot Lee's mother isn't returning her calls. It's a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown and finds her mother dead under suspicious circumstances. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the facts of Mina's life as a Korean War orphan and undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Park Row Book, ©2020.
ISBN: 9780778310174
9780778311171
Characteristics: 381 pages ;,23 cm.

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a
abcDena
May 13, 2021

I enjoyed the story of Mina and her daughter, Margot. It reminded me a lot of growing up a third culture kid, the child of immigrants. There’s something about stories of East Asians and their brooding silence, their quiet suffering — very much like the West Asians who just bear down and keep going, despite all the damage it (silence) continues to cause.

However, The Last Story of Mina Lee seemed confused about whether it was a literary peek into the immigrant experience or a murder mystery. I enjoy both genres and don’t mind a little mash-up, but this was uneven and the end rather anti-climactic.

I enjoyed the book enough to finish it, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it — not from the mountain tops, anyway.

h
Horseshoe
Apr 21, 2021

I enjoyed this story which shows an emotional view of the immigrant experience. It is a story filled with secrets, regret and love of a mother-daughter relationship. I enjoyed reading about the struggles and sacrifices Mina had to make in order to have a better life for her and her daughter and the strength she had to move forward. I found it sad and heartbreaking at times.
I enjoyed learning about the Korean culture. I was curious to find out Mina died and I also enjoyed reading about her life.

r
Readariot
Apr 15, 2021

I tried very hard to stick with this via listening on audiobook but simply could not do it past the first third of the book. Maybe something was lost by not reading it instead but this was the most poorly written book I’ve encountered in many years. I can’t for the life of me understand how it could be listed as recommended reading by Reese Witherspoon.

debwalker Sep 25, 2020

When your mother is murdered....

b
brangwinn
Sep 06, 2020

If you like Amy Tan, you’ll enjoy this debut by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. When Margot goes back to visit her mother in Koreatown, Los Angeles, she finds her mother dead. Now she has not been the best daughter. She is American, through and through and her mother has seen life through the eyes of an immigrant. In this mystery, as Margot tries to figure out what happened to her mother, she also sees what life was like for her mother. She comes to the realization that her mother was an extraordinarily strong, resourceful woman. Yes, the story is a little uneven, but I’ll give Kim leeway in that. This is her debut novel, and she wrote a story in which I was easily immersed.

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