Susan Choi

Easton Press Susan Choi books

A Person of Interest - signed modern classic - 2014


Author Susan Choi

Susan Choi, born on July 9, 1969, in South Bend, Indiana, is an award-winning American novelist known for her thought-provoking and critically acclaimed works of fiction. Raised in Texas and Indiana, Choi's journey into the literary world began with a deep appreciation for storytelling and language. Choi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from Yale University and later pursued a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from Cornell University. Her academic pursuits laid the foundation for her future career as a writer, and her commitment to the craft of storytelling became evident in her nuanced exploration of complex themes and characters.

Choi's debut novel, The Foreign Student (1998), received the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. The novel is a poignant exploration of identity and relationships, revolving around a Korean graduate student studying in the United States during the 1950s. In subsequent works, Choi continued to delve into themes of identity, belonging, and the intricate dynamics of human connections. Her novel American Woman (2003) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and explores the aftermath of the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Choi's novel A Person of Interest (2008) is a psychological thriller that delves into the life of a reclusive mathematician who becomes a person of interest in a domestic terrorism investigation. The novel received critical acclaim for its exploration of paranoia, academia, and the consequences of one's past.

One of Choi's most celebrated works is My Education (2013), a novel that examines themes of desire, academia, and the complexities of relationships. The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of a university campus and explores the emotional and intellectual entanglements of the characters. Throughout her career, Susan Choi has demonstrated a keen ability to tackle diverse subject matter with intellectual rigor and emotional depth. Her writing has been praised for its complexity, its exploration of the human psyche, and its rich character development.

My Education

My Education was published in 2013. The story is a complex exploration of desire, relationships, and the consequences of impulsive decisions. Set against the backdrop of academia, the novel delves into the emotional and intellectual entanglements of its characters. The novel is narrated by Regina Gottlieb, a graduate student who arrives at a prestigious university to pursue her Ph.D. in the early 1990s. Regina is drawn to the charisma and unconventional lifestyle of her professor, Martha Hallett. Martha, a magnetic and enigmatic figure, is married to the older and esteemed Nicholas Woodruff, also a professor at the university. Regina quickly becomes entangled in a passionate and tumultuous affair with Martha, despite Martha's marriage. The relationship unfolds against the backdrop of academic life, with its power dynamics, intellectual pursuits, and personal challenges. As Regina becomes more deeply involved with Martha, she finds herself drawn into a web of complex relationships involving Martha's husband, her best friend Dutra, and other members of the academic community. The novel explores themes of desire, betrayal, and the consequences of pursuing one's passions without considering the broader implications. The narrative spans several years, and Regina reflects on her choices and the impact they have on her life. Choi skillfully explores the nuances of love and obsession, depicting the characters in all their flawed humanity. 

My Education is praised for its rich characterizations, evocative prose, and its candid exploration of themes such as power dynamics, sexual identity, and the complexities of adult relationships. Choi's novel offers a compelling and often unflinching look at the messy and unpredictable nature of desire and the consequences of impulsive decisions. The novel received positive reviews for its literary merit and its ability to engage readers in a challenging and thought-provoking narrative. It further solidified Susan Choi's reputation as a skilled and daring novelist unafraid to tackle complex and emotionally charged subject matter.

Trust Exercise

Trust Exercise is known for its innovative narrative structure and exploration of themes related to power dynamics, trust, and the complexities of human relationships, particularly within an educational setting. The novel is divided into three parts, each offering a different perspective on the events that unfold. The story begins in the 1980s at a prestigious performing arts high school where students are immersed in an intense and competitive environment. The narrative focuses on the evolving relationships among the students and their charismatic drama teacher, Mr. Kingsley. The first part of the novel revolves around the romantic relationship between two students, Sarah and David. The story is told from Sarah's perspective, offering insights into the dynamics of the performing arts school and the challenges faced by the students. As the narrative progresses, it takes an unexpected turn, challenging the reader's understanding of the characters and the events. The second part of the novel shifts perspectives, providing a new lens through which to view the story. This section raises questions about the reliability of narrative and the ways in which memory and perception can be manipulated.

The third part of Trust Exercise takes place years later, offering yet another perspective on the events at the performing arts school and their lasting impact on the characters. The novel explores the themes of trust, betrayal, and the consequences of unchecked authority. Throughout the narrative, Susan Choi plays with the reader's expectations and challenges traditional storytelling conventions. The novel prompts reflection on the nature of memory, the power dynamics inherent in relationships, and the construction of personal narratives. Trust Exercise received critical acclaim for its inventive structure, psychological depth, and thought-provoking themes. It won the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, further establishing Susan Choi as a writer known for her innovative and challenging approach to storytelling.

Choi's commitment to the craft of fiction has earned her a prominent place in contemporary American literature. Her works continue to resonate with readers for their exploration of the intricacies of the human experience and their thought-provoking reflections on identity, relationships, and societal dynamics.


A Person of Interest

Professor Lee, an Asian-born mathematician nearing retirement age, would seem the last person likely to attract the attention of FBI agents. Yet after a popular young colleague becomes the latest victim of a serial bomber, Lee’s detached response and maladroit behavior lead the FBI, the national news media, and even his own neighbors to regard him with damning suspicion.

Amid campus-wide grief over the murder, Lee receives a cryptic letter from a figure out of his past. The letter unearths a lifetime of shortcomings toward his dead wife, his estranged only daughter, and a long-denied son. Caught between his guilty recollections and the scrutiny of the murder investigation, determined to face his tormentor and exonerate himself, Lee sets off on a journey that will bring him face-to-face with his past and that might even win him redemption.


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