American Water Tears: A Grandmaster’s Story
At first glance, American Water Tears: A Grandmaster’s Story seems to be a novel about one brother’s quest to rescue his older brother from his destructive life choices. It is, however, so much more than that.
Han D. Cho uses his unique voice to draw the reader into the life of an immigrant family. Not unlike so many other families coming to this country today, the Lee family must navigate a difficult road between their birth culture and the new American culture they find themselves surrounded by. What happens when their Korean patriarchal family structure is shaken as deeply held rules and roles are challenged? Can the family change and evolve as their mother, Jasmine, no longer accepts the subservient role she has been raised to fit into? What happens when younger brother must take on the older brother’s role in the family?
Cho’s novel moves between past and present seamlessly, bringing childhood experiences to bear on present day events. His work can be read as a coming of age story, an in-depth look at immigration’s effects on family structures, a riveting adventure, or a meditation on what it means to be a good son, sibling, or man.
This is a gentle story that will linger with you long after you close the covers.
Han D. Cho