I reviewed Catherine Chung’s Forgotten Country for The Common:
Janie, born Jeehyun in South Korea and re-christened by the principal of her first American school when her parents relocate to Michigan for fear of political oppression, is a mathematics PhD student when the novel begins—or rather, at the time which she, relating the story from an unspecified point in the future, chooses to open it. That distinction is central to Forgotten Country’s energy. Where is Janie leading us? Toward actual, physical crisis, yes; but toward what inner crisis or resolution?
Janie is Forgotten Country’s Ancient Mariner, fixing the wedding guest (us) with her uncanny eye. She is Ishmael, who alone escaped to tell, and Nick Carraway, who wanted the whole world at a kind of moral attention when he came back from the events of The Great Gatsby.