The Leavers

Lisa Ko’s book came to my attention via the Instagram account Book of the Month Club. I was in the mood for a novel I knew nothing about, so I ordered it mostly based on cover design. I literally judged a book by its cover.

Like Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer last year, this book left me wanting. At its core, the story and premise are fascinating. I’m interested in migration, in family dynamics, in the struggle between choice and necessity, in the age old dilemma of who counts as a parent, but the discussion of these themes was buried under over-wrought writing, over-expanded exposition and unnecessary plot details.

I listened to this book as an audio book, over multiple long runs. It kept me company but also left me wishing it would, like those long runs, just end already.