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Edinburgh
Cover of Edinburgh
Edinburgh

Twelve-year-old Fee is a shy Korean American boy and a newly named section leader of the first sopranos in his local boys' choir. But when Fee learns how the director treats his section leaders, he is so ashamed he says nothing of the abuse, not even when Peter, his best friend, is in line to be next. When the director is arrested, Fee tries to forgive himself for his silence. But when Peter takes his own life, Fee blames only himself. In the years that follow he slowly builds a new life, teaching near his hometown. There he meets a young student who is the picture of Peter and is forced to confront the past he believed was gone. Told with "the force of a dream and the heft of a life," Edinburgh marked Chee "as a major talent whose career will bear watching" (Publishers Weekly).

Twelve-year-old Fee is a shy Korean American boy and a newly named section leader of the first sopranos in his local boys' choir. But when Fee learns how the director treats his section leaders, he is so ashamed he says nothing of the abuse, not even when Peter, his best friend, is in line to be next. When the director is arrested, Fee tries to forgive himself for his silence. But when Peter takes his own life, Fee blames only himself. In the years that follow he slowly builds a new life, teaching near his hometown. There he meets a young student who is the picture of Peter and is forced to confront the past he believed was gone. Told with "the force of a dream and the heft of a life," Edinburgh marked Chee "as a major talent whose career will bear watching" (Publishers Weekly).

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About the Author-
  • Alexander Chee is the author of two novels and the recipient of a Whiting Award and the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, and on NPR, among others, and he is a contributing editor at the New Republic. He lives in New York City.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 1, 2001
    A Korean-American boy tries to deal with the legacy of abuse in Chee's stunning debut novel, which begins in Maine when young Aphias Zee joins a professional boys choir. Zee, who goes by the nickname of Fee, quickly becomes a star because of his soaring soprano voice, but the dark side of making music surfaces in the form of the conductor, a serial pedophile who slowly victimizes his young charges. The conductor manages to hide his propensities during Fee's years in the choir, but once the director is arrested the impact of his crimes begins to emerge: one of Fee's friends commits suicide by immolation and another shoots himself. Fee, meanwhile, embarks on a bizarre journey to find his identity, exploring his bisexuality while dabbling in drugs until he finally learns that his own absent father is also an imprisoned pedophile. Fee seems to settle down when he finally finds a partner, an athletic man named Bridey who was one of his school conquests, but he finds himself shaken to his core when the choir director's son turns up in his life and he is seized by an instant but deadly attraction. Chee is a gifted, poetic writer who takes big risks, from the background and sexual orientation of his protagonist to the chapters dealing with drugs, pedophilia and casual sex with grace and unflinching honesty. A counterpoint to the seamier material is Chee's exploration of Fee's spiritual side, which he delves into using animal imagery from the boy's Korean background; he also pens a wonderfully loving portrait of Fee's humble but spiritually sophisticated grandparents. This novel marks the debut of a major talent whose career will bear watching. Agent, Rebecca Kurson at Liza Dawson Associates. Author tour.

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    Blackstone Publishing
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Alexander Chee
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