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Debut U.S. Novelist Is Entranced by Korean Soaps

2008/09/18 Source

A retired American teacher who fell in love with Korean soap operas has published her debut novel "Bird and Fish", a love story between a Korean man and an American woman. Adrienne Leslie (61) retired after working as a teacher for 16 years in the Korean neighborhood of Little Neck, Flushing, New York.

Her novel tells the love story between Hyun Jae-won, who has given up art and works as a clerk in a paint shop in New York, and Wendy Dale, an American teacher and Korean soap opera fanatic.

Adrienne Leslie, the author of 'Bird and Fish', a novel about the romance between a Korean man and an American woman

The book is full of references to popular Korean soaps such as "My Name is Kim Sam-soon", "Famous Princesses" and "Princess Hours". And its 532 pages also teem with transliterations of Korean dialogue.

Leslie is an ardent fan of Korean culture and watches Korean soaps more than two hours a day. She is a member of (Open the link), an online club for Korean soap fans in the U.S. She said the themes in Korean soap operas, especially strong emphasis on family ties, are not alien to her because she grew up in an extended family. She also loves the romance in Korean dramas. So why did she decide to write about the romance between an Asian man and an American woman, a fairly rare matter in American society. "I was upset with the American stereotype that only deals with romance between Asian women and American men", she says.

The title goes to the existential question -- where do a bird and a fish go if they fall in love? Where should a couple from two entirely different worlds, such as a Korean man and an American woman, live if they get married? "Perhaps a place of their own", Leslie says. The answer will come in her next novel, "Sea and Sky".

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