On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Queens native Patricia Park gave a reading from her first novel, RE JANE, at Dae Dong Manor and Restaurant in Flushing. Over 150 people attended the event, which was co-organized by the Research Foundation for Korean Community and the Research Center for Korean Community. RE JANE was recently published by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, a division of Penguin Press.
Patricia also conducted a very illuminating question and answer session with the audience and signed copies of her book. Those in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the event, which featured welcoming remarks by former NYC Comptroller John Liu, President Hae Min Chung of RFKC, and others. Patricia and her parents were also awarded a citation of recognition from the office of New York Assemblymember Ron Kim.
It is encouraging that there are increasingly more 1.5- and 2nd-generation Korean-American writers emerging. This book is particularly meaningful for the Korean and Korean-American communities in New York City because Patricia was born and raised in Queens, and much of the book is set in the Korean enclave in Flushing. We look forward to reading more of Patricia's work in the future, and we are honored to have been a part of her first book tour.
Below is a brief description of the book:
"This was my America—all Korean, all the time."
RE JANE is a contemporary retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. The novel follows the life of Jane Re—a half-Korean, half-white orphan sent to live with her uncle in Flushing, Queens. She toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation).
Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane’s new life, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.
Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane wonders whether she is living out of obligation to others, or for herself. RE JANE is a tale from Queens to Brooklyn to the Gangnam district of Seoul and back, as Jane searches for “the motherland” and challenges what it means to belong.
Click the image of the book cover below to order copies of the book from Patricia Park's website: