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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 ...
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.
Posted March 20, 2010
I friend borrowed this book to me, but I loved it so much that I bought my own copy and just gifted another to a family member. Weird, crisp, bizarre, and occasional random, but it all comes together by the end of the book. It's hard to describe, so I won't try, but if you like The Simpsons, Garrison Keillor, and Charles Dickens (I know, I know...), then you might find this a terrific read. Truly.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2004
Although I probably read more than the average person, I've never written a review before and in fact I avoid reading them in general, particularly before picking up the book or seeing the movie upon which a review is based. I just finished 2 of this author's books, 'Las Cucarachas' and 'Boy Genius,' and out of curiosity I decided to read what others had to say. Interestingly, many of the reviewers take time comparing this book to other books. I'm going to frankly describe what I myself thought rather than make these comparisons. First of all, both of this author's books are worth reading, and they should be read as a pair. I would recommend reading 'Las Cucarachas' and then 'Boy Genius,' in that order. I was born and raised in New York City, and I'm from approximately the same generation as the main character in 'Las Cucarachas;' to me it's incredible how well the author brings to life what my own childhood was like, growing up and hanging out in the streets of New York- not desperately poor, but poor enough so that the kids from what was called the 'middle class' seemed rich by comparison, and were luckier than any of them ever seemed able to see. It's as though the author lived this NYC childhood, with all its obstacles, frustrations and pains, freeze dried it, moved on in his own life, and then went back to it and set it down exactly, precisely, missing nothing, not a single thought, feeling, experience or idea. You read 'Las Cucarachas' and you experience the raw, real life of a tough, smart street kid in a big city where money is everything- absolutely, totally everything- and where the kid knows that it's not that society wants him to fail; rather, society is so completely and profoundly indifferent that it can't even be bothered to have an interest in his success or failure either way. Nobody from any middle or upper class background can ever truly know the alienation this situation creates, but by reading 'Las Cucarachas' they can sure get a good goddamn taste of it. 'Las Cucarachas' is the story of a boy that's forced to gear everything around slickness and toughness, and who's trying to make something happen against impossible odds and what seems like an endless stream of jerks and idiots holding him back and getting in his way. When I finished reading 'Las Cucarachas' I felt a strange urge to contact the author, congratulate him for making it through, and thank him for creating such an honest, vivid, and truly touching testimonial to youth. 'Boy Genius' should be read after 'Las Cucarachas;' in fact it's remarkable to me that 'Boy Genius' was actually written by the same author. 'Boy Genius' is so completely different, and not just the subject matter, but the whole style of the book as well. 'Las Cucarachas' is raw and gritty; 'Boy Genius' begins right off the bat with fantastic events that continue unfolding throughout. The narrator in 'Boy Genius' gets you to suspend your disbelief so completely that I myself often looked up from the book while reading and felt an embarrassed smile on my face, as though realizing once again that I was the victim of this author's ongoing, intelligent, playful mischief. Bringing this together- the surreal storyline, the narrator's ever present, eccentric, hilarious and intelligent take on things- and you've got a book, 'Boy Genius,' that once again is not only wonderful, honest and real, but that's also simply enjoyable to read... and that's something that's important to me for any book that I pick up! I'm still a New Yorker, and I know I've got a book I love when I can take that book onto a crowded train during rush hour on my way to work- and lose myself in it totally and completely, in spite of the fact that I'm being jostled and crushed by stressed and impatient New Yorkers who'd prefer I put the book away, hold onto the handraWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 17, 2002
Reading the jacket of the book, i was like, "what the hell is this about?" But Yongsoo Park totally blurs the lines between reality and myth. While the tale of Boy Genius is written with such fantastic fairy tale imagination, Park fills the story with references and truths of our society. The tale of Boy Genius takes you on his full journey from child to adulthood, and his quest for revenge. I'm a slow reader, but I blazed through this book in a few days, such an enjoyable read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.