Monday, November 02, 2009
Pieces of You is a collection of short stories written by Daniel Armand Lee. Lee is better known as Tablo, the frontman of Epik High, which is one of the best - if not the best - hip hop groups in South Korea. The ten stories in the collection were all written from 1998 to 2001, when Lee was studying creative writing and literature at Stanford University. (The Korean translations of the stories were published in 2008 and the original English versions were published just this year.) They are slices of life about family, friends, romantic relationships, secrets, being lost, unhappiness, and sickness, among other things. Several of the characters are creative types.
These are all stories I would like to read and puzzle over and reflect on again and again. Stories I would love to discuss with others. My favorite is "Andante" (written in 1998), which is a story about Jonathan, a Julliard student majoring in piano, his mother, and how they are dealing with Jonathan's Alzheimer-ridden father - who was a master pianist before he was stricken with the disease. It has been a while since a short story has touched and moved me the way "Andante" did. There is the immense strain from taking care of a very sick family member. There is a loving but incredibly complicated father-son relationship. There is a lost young man trying to find his way. And there is a real and palpable love for music in every sentence. Beautiful.
I hope Lee writes and publishes more short stories soon. He leads such a rich and fruitful life and career as an artist. I can't help but be curious about what he would come up with more than ten years after writing "Andante."
[I borrowed a copy of Pieces of You from my good friend. Thank you, Nice!]