The Leavers

Finalist, National Book Awards 2017 for Fiction

The Leavers, by Lisa Ko book cover
ISBN 9781616206888
Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing
Lisa Ko author photo, credit: Bartosz Potocki
Lisa Ko

Lisa Ko is the author of The Leavers, a novel which won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, Apogee Journal, Narrative, O. Magazine, Copper Nickel, Storychord, One Teen Story, Brooklyn Review, and elsewhere. More about this author >

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A vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging, The Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away—and how one woman learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

Judges Citation

Lisa Ko’s The Leavers gives us Deming Guo, who is also Daniel Wilkerson, a transnational adoptee abandoned by his mother, Polly Guo, an undocumented Chinese immigrant. In their criss-crossing stories we see how this novel’s unique doubled consciousness is the one way they can be together, and in their struggle to belong, at least to themselves, there is a vision for an America big enough to include them when America does not. A bold reinvention of the Asian immigrant novel as great American novel.