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Boy Genius
     

Boy Genius

by Yongsoo Park
 

The latest installment in the Akashic Urban Surreal series.

Boy Genius is a powerful identity satire, the picaresque odyssey of a child seeking to avenge the wrongs perpetrated on his parents. Park’s genius, born into the turmoil of post-war Korea, is used as a puppet by the South Korean government—before being banished to America. From a remote

Overview

The latest installment in the Akashic Urban Surreal series.

Boy Genius is a powerful identity satire, the picaresque odyssey of a child seeking to avenge the wrongs perpetrated on his parents. Park’s genius, born into the turmoil of post-war Korea, is used as a puppet by the South Korean government—before being banished to America. From a remote New York city ghetto, the boy wages a clandestine guerilla war against all symbols of authority. Park renders his vision of late-20th-century global culture with the bold, surreal strokes of Pynchon and the wild political sensibilities of Godard; the painful, largely unmapped narrative territory of Boy Genius creates a gripping, harrowing read.

Yongsoo Park is a Korean-American writer and independent film-maker living in New York City.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Filmmaker Yonsoo Park's debut, Boy Genius, follows the life of its eponymous protagonist through a surreal stew of politics, betrayal, race and identity. BG falls from grace as a state-sponsored child TV star in Korea and heads to America with his parents. He spends his adolescence rebelling against his teachers in a teeming East Coast slum; when his parents are killed, he heads to California, where surgery transforms him into a Caucasian. Fraught with bizarre plot twists and impossible coincidences, Park's unique characters inhabit a dark, violent and paranoid world in which nothing and no one is as it appears. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Korean-born filmmaker's often surreal debut features a search for revenge by a character who, as a boy in South Korea, was raised from obscurity to national prominence with his own TV show-only to be thrown, along with his family, back into poverty. Known as Boy Genius while his show is on, the lad sings the praises of all-powerful President Park, lending his intelligence to the rooting out of the Communist menace by fair means or foul, until Park's wife is assassinated. Then, swiftly thrust from the limelight and denied the perks of celebrity, Boy Genius and his parents end up in squalor. With no explanation forthcoming and a fresh face taking his place on the show, he decides to emigrate and take his parents with him. The relocation brings them to a Third World-like slum in New York City, where Boy Genius first joins a pack of wild dogs on the streets, then goes to school-where his bitter refusal to spout melting-pot rhetoric puts him in solitary confinement until his spirit is broken. He signs an accord signaling his compliance, whereupon his parents are butchered at home by persons unknown. Boy Genius finishes school and gets a job in LA; but, realizing that he'll never find success looking like a Korean, he locates a doctor in Hiroshima who turns him into a Caucasian. Following this miracle, he makes great strides up the ladder of success, marrying another transformed Asian and buying a house in a white neighborhood. But then he learns that President Park and his goons were responsible for his parents'death. His drive for vengeance takes him into dangerous territory, leading him to his own death-but Boy Genius doesn't stop even there. Park is clever and caustic in depictingAmerica's treatment of its minority underclass, but his story's heavy reliance on caricature and the bizarre taps its strength.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781888451245
Publisher:
Akashic Books
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
4.60(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Yongsoo Park is a novelist, filmmaker and playwright. His debut novel BOY GENIUS was recognized as a Notable Title for the 2002 Kiriyama Book Prize and as a finalist for the 2003 Asian American Literary Awards. A former Van Lier Fellowship winner at the Asian American Writers? Workshop, Park was born in South Korea and now lives in Harlem with his wife.

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