“Caroline Kim’s captivating story collection gathers an entrancing variety of voices spread across time and place. These diverse viewpoints reveal cohesive threads that address clashes of culture, of generations, of relationships, of history, carrying us from 18th-century Korea to the Korean War and our own contemporary then future world, and strikingly reflects us all in riveting microcosms of story. Deeply moving and affecting, these stories and their heartfelt characters will linger long after the last page is turned.”
EUGENIA KIM, AUTHOR OF THE KINSHIP OF SECRETS
2020 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner Caroline Kim in conversation with author and guest judge Alexander Chee
Exploring what it means to be human through the Korean diaspora, Caroline Kim’s The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories feature many voices. From a teenage girl in 1980’s America, to a boy growing up in the middle of the Korean War, to an immigrant father struggling to be closer to his adult daughter, or to a suburban housewife whose equilibrium depends upon a therapy robot, each character must face their less-than-ideal circumstances and find a way to overcome them without losing themselves. Language often acts as a barrier as characters try, fail, and momentarily succeed in connecting with each other. With humor, insight, and curiosity, Kim’s wide-ranging stories explore themes of culture, communication, travel, and family. Ultimately, what unites these characters across time and distance is their longing for human connection and a search for the place—or people—that will feel like home.
Of the collection, Wendy Hinman for Foreword Reviews writes, “Worth savoring, the stories of The Prince of Mournful Thoughts are intimate, often wistful portraits set amid the stifling and conflicting expectations of families and cultures.”
Caroline Kim has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award, and an MA in Fiction from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She was nominated by Jellyfish Review for a 2019 Best of the Net award. Kim was born in South Korea and lives in Walnut Creek, California with her husband and three children.
Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel, all from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals.
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