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A Good Place To Start
|Free Food For Millionaires||1|
Min Jin Lee (1968 - )
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[From the Hachette Book Group site (www.hachettebookgroupusa.com):]
On Writing Free Food for Millionaires
by Min Jin Lee
I was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1968. My parents, two sisters and I immigrated to America in 1976. I was seven and a half years old. We settled in Elmhurst, Queens because Uncle John, my mother's elder brother, lived there. My sisters and I went to P.S. 102 then J.H.S. 73 then my elder sister and I went to the Bronx High School of Science and my younger sister went to Stuyvesant. Like Casey, my main character, I went to an ivy league college. I used these details for my characters intentionally, and no one in my family was bothered by this because that's pretty much where the similarities end between my characters and my family history. It was wonderful in many ways to think back to my old neighborhood and to visit for research, because the sensations rushed back like they had been waiting for me to come and gather them. The sites, the scents, the faces of my new country had been stimulating and profound when I was girl. Such impressions were always within me—so it turned out.
I have read that some folks who travel do it because they enjoy the shock of the new locale. That makes sense to me that a person can enjoy that level of strangeness and find it stimulating. Oddly, although I am a citizen of this country and feel quite attached to it, I am constantly surprised by America and New York. Though I have lived here for, gosh, over thirty years, I remain in a state of wonder, and it makes me happy that I can still feel that. I live in Manhattan for now, and after the publication of Free Food for Millionaires, I will live in Tokyo for a few years with my husband and son, so I face the prospect of becoming a new immigrant again. I guess, the term of art is expatriate, but to me, I have learned that being an immigrant is a kind of permanent condition, a thing you get added to your biography, like getting married, or becoming a parent, or like losing a loved one, and it is an aspect of my identity I would neither want to shed nor embrace, but have accepted respectfully.
My favorite parts of being a writer are that I get to feel, notice and to speculate—with and through words. I admire poets because they have to observe and to feel things in depth then make shape of them concisely. Novels are larger, baggier creatures, yet I hope in my life as a fiction writer, to respond continually to my changing worlds with greater precision and with greater feeling as I grow and move along in them.
Copyright © 2007 by Min Jin Lee