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Publisher's Summary

A Reese’s Book Club Pick

Instant New York Times best seller

Riveting and unconventional, The Last Story of Mina Lee traces the far-reaching consequences of secrets in the lives of a Korean immigrant mother and her daughter

Margot Lee's mother is ignoring her calls. Margot can’t understand why, until she makes a surprise trip home to Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. 

Determined to discover the truth, Margot unravels her single mother’s past as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother, Mina.

Thirty years earlier, Mina Lee steps off a plane to take a chance on a new life in America. Stacking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing she expects is to fall in love. But that moment leads to repercussions for Mina that echo through the decades, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a powerful and exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.

Highly Anticipated by Fortune · Popsugar · Purewow · Betches · Gma.com · Vulture · Bustle · The Millions · Lithub · Bookriot · Bookish

“Painful, joyous... A story that cries out to be told.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Kim is a brilliant new voice in American fiction.” (Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel)

“Suspenseful and deeply felt.” (Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists)

©2020 Nancy Jooyoun Kim (P)2020 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about The Last Story of Mina Lee

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised

This book was heartbreaking in a lot of ways. It certainly makes you face with all the privileges you have. There were so many bad reviews about the audio book that I nearly didnt use my credit on this one. It turned out to be a moving and well written story about a mother and daughter, their different lives and experiences and their struggles to understand each other. Margo's mission was to figure out whether or not her mother's death was an accident upon discovering her body. The book revolves around Margo on her quest as well as past chapters which describe Mina's (her mother) experience in her first few years living in Koreatown in LA in the 80s and 90s. The descriptions of the food were mouth watering. I also felt like the relationships between characters were believable and realistic. I am giving it 4 stars because there were some parts of the plot that I found slow-moving and a little hard to get through. Also, the narrator for the audio book tried her best but sometimes used odd voices for the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Didn’t like narration

I really didn’t enjoy the narrator of this story (sorry!). I couldn’t quite get into the characters either. It was as if I just didn’t care. I don’t recommend this book as an audio book. It might be ok to read yourself.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-09-02

Audio Recording Terrible, distracting

The book is good but read it on paper. The voice for the audiobook is so robotic and distracting I can barely get through the book. I actually do wonder if it’s a robot/AI narrorator....

12 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • MTrean
  • 2020-09-07

Robotic Narrator

The narration is so terrible I couldn’t finish it. I’ll order the book and read it to finish.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria L.
  • 2020-09-07

Narration is so important.

I think this is a great book, but the narrator IMO is terrible. So bad it interferes with the story.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracey
  • 2020-09-13

First time I’ve doubted Reese’s book club choice...

Therefore I have to assume it’s a good read, NOT a good listen. The narration is horrific! It’s distracts so badly from the story, I can’t listen. I will be asking for a refund and might buy the book, although, if I had time to sit down and read, I wouldn’t need audible. I don’t want the book to get a bad review but with this narration, I’ll never know if it’s worthy of more.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-15

Narrators voice ruins it

Im surprised that I finished the book with how irritating the annunciation is. It’s distracting from the actual story

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Libellule
  • 2020-12-02

Terrible Narrations

Hard to judge a book when it is read so poorly. The story could be interesting and perhaps the writing is of quality but the abysmal performance makes it very difficult to appreciate. Never listened to such a poorly narrated book on audible before. What were the producers thinking!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • olivia toy
  • 2020-12-01

Narration destroyed this book

I’ve never had such a bad experience regarding the narration. It was so incredibly monotone and overly syncopated, I seriously can’t believe someone was paid to approve this recording. It sounds like the automated voice that prompts you to pay a bill over the phone; not to mention the overly pronounced Korean words - it was all too distracting and irritating. I listened on x1.7 just to hurry up the story so I didn’t give up on the whole thing. Besides the narration fail, this book has lots of potential that’s never fully realized. I was full on prepared to embrace this book being that my mother is Korean. I enjoyed Mina’s character and story; I felt the opposite of Margot which had me feeling anywhere from ambivalent to impatient on any of her chapters. There are plenty of great nuggets in here that could have coalesced into an awesome tale highlighting the beauty and terrors of Korean heritage, history, and American experience re: immigration. Instead it’s drawn out superficial, slightly repetitive, and just feels like a missed opportunity.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Guest 1979
  • 2020-11-22

The book is good the reading is terrible

Please someone do another version with a better reader. Don’t torture anyone else. I put the book on “2x” speed and was able to painfully get through it. Great story. The reader struggles.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-11-16

Good Book but choppy narration

While I enjoyed the story the narration was choppy and robotic the whole time making it hard for me to fully enjoy the book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-11-11

I can’t follow it

Can’t follow this story because of the monotone of the reader. Saw I had 8 hours left and knew I had to cut it loose. This is my first time stopping early on an audio book...

1 person found this helpful