The Queen of Tears by Chris McKinney [in Christian Science Monitor]
Once Korea’s greatest movie star – dubbed ‘the Queen of Tears’ for her ability to cry convincingly on film – Soong Nan Lee arrives in Hawai‘i to face her three adult children. Her two eldest by her Korean director husband who discovered her, are still stinging from her abandonment of them decades earlier. Won Ju, her oldest, is stuck with a philandering husband and their spoiled, damaged son. Donny, her one son, is marrying a stripper just to spite her. And Darian, her one true American child fathered by Soong’s Korean American GI second husband, has abandoned her graduate work at Berkeley to set up house with stripper Crystal’s younger brother. When the whole family opens a Korean-food beach shack restaurant with the last of Soong’s money, complications arise in such close quarters among the tangled three generations with tragic results.
“In Celebration of Asian Pacific American Month: A Literary Survey,” The Bloomsbury Review, May/June 2006