When questioned by the Economist on the significance of her book’s title, Drifting House, Krys Lee answered, ‘There’s a loneliness that we all carry, and for me that’s symbolised through that image. It’s also a very private symbol for me, because I spent most of my childhood moving house. I had a very restless father who didn’t seem to be able to settle down.’
Krys Lee was born in South Korea and raised in California and Washington, before studying in the United States and England. Her father was a pastor and her mother died when she was young. She has experienced loss, poverty, displacement and extreme loneliness, all central themes in her haunting short story collection which takes a snapshot of the troubled and fractious lives of Koreans, from the tormented North, bewildering South and those forced to migrate to an alien America. She reflects on the deep-seated darkness of the tales, ‘At the time I was so haunted by the history of my country and my family. I was also ambivalent about how much you can reach beyond your own past, how great a hold the past has, on both the individual and a country.’
Lee was a finalist for Best New American Voices, and received a special mention in the 2012 Pushcart Prize XXXVI. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Narrative magazine, Granta (New Voices), California Quarterly, Asia Weekly, the Guardian, the New Statesman, and Condé Nast Traveller. She currently lives in Seoul with intervals in San Francisco.