Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Edinburgh by Alexander Chee


Synopsis: As a child, Fee is a gifted Korean-American soprano in a boys' choir in Maine. Silent after being abused by the director, he is unable to warn the other boys or protect his best friend, Peter, from the director's advances. Even after the director is imprisoned, Fee continues to believe he is responsible, and while he survives into adulthood, his friends do not. In the years that follow, he struggles to bury his guilt and grief, until he meets a beautiful young student who resembles Peter, and he is forced to confront the demons of his brutal past.

Date Published: November 9, 2002
Published By: Picador
Number of Pages: 212
Rating: 4/5

Edinburgh is a poetic, sensitively told story about a boy who faces horrific abuse at the hands of his choir director and the resulting guilt he deals with well into adulthood. Chee doesn't indulge in graphic depictions of the abuse for shock value. The allusions to the abuse and the traumatic aftermath are horrifying enough to instill the reader with a sense of horror and revulsion.

The writing is lyrical and abstract, beautifully done, but, as a result, I sometimes felt the characters were a little vague and hard to connect with. 

There is a little bit of a twist to this story that I didn't see coming but once the revelation hits, it feels inevitable, bringing the story to its devastating conclusion.

Edinburgh is a sad story with little hope of a happy ending. But it is an important story and it deserves to be read. 

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