The Collective is Lee’s fourth novel. The Korean American is director of the Masters of Fine Arts program at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Critics have praised the novel as both insightful and funny. Lee talked to MPR News about how he used The Collective to explore issues facing Asian Americans, particularly writers.
“If you are an Asian-American writer,” he said, “do you always have to write about race? Do you always have to make your characters Asian-American? If you don’t, is it a form of race betrayal? If you do, are you ghettoizing yourself or perpetuating stereotypes?”