Nuclear Family: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Counterpoint
  • Published : 07 Jun 2022
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 1640094865
  • ISBN-13 : 9781640094864
  • Language : English

Nuclear Family: A Novel

Set in the months leading up to the 2018 nuclear missile false alarm, a Korean American family living in Hawai'i faces the fallout of their eldest son's attempt to run across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea in this "fresh, inventive, and at times, hilarious novel" (Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants)

Things are looking up for Mr. and Mrs. Cho. Their dream of franchising their Korean plate lunch restaurants across Hawaiʻi seems within reach after a visit from Guy Fieri boosts the profile of Cho's Delicatessen. Their daughter, Grace, is busy finishing her senior year of college and working for her parents, while her older brother, Jacob, just moved to Seoul to teach English. But when a viral video shows Jacob trying-and failing-to cross the Korean demilitarized zone, nothing can protect the family from suspicion and the restaurant from waning sales.
 No one knows that Jacob has been possessed by the ghost of his lost grandfather, who feverishly wishes to cross the divide and find the family he left behind in the north. As Jacob is detained by the South Korean government, Mr. and Mrs. Cho fear their son won't ever be able to return home, and Grace gets more and more stoned as she negotiates her family's undoing. Struggling with what they don't know about themselves and one another, the Chos must confront the separations that have endured in their family for decades.
Set in the months leading up to the 2018 false missile alert in Hawaiʻi, Joseph Han's profoundly funny and strikingly beautiful debut novel is an offering that aches with histories inherited and reunions missed, asking how we heal in the face of what we forget and who we remember.


Editorial Reviews

A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Book of the Year & Book You've Got to Read this Summer
An LGBTQ Reads Most Anticipated Book
BookRiot, A Best Summer Read of 2022
The Millions, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year
Goodreads, A Most Anticipated Debut Novel of 2022

"[A] gorgeous debut." -Time

"Inventive." -A Washington Post Book to Read This Summer

"A richly imagined, era-straddling saga exploring several generations of a Korean American clan." -Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

"An entrancing, boldly satisfying debut from Joseph Han. It feels both massive, grand on a global scale, and also small and intimate; a deeply personal story of a family trying to keep their small business open when their son suddenly causes the eyes of the world to turn on them. Nuclear Family is a knock-out." -Jeffrey Masters, The Advocate, One of the Best Books of The Year

"Such a beautiful, original book . . . It's a gorgeous meditation on loss and memory, a painful and haunting novel about the legacies of war and the violence of separation." -Laura Sackton, Book Riot

"A compelling debut." -Autostraddle

"Full of both dry humor and heartfelt determination and set just before the 2018 false missile alert in Hawaii, Nuclear Family is an incredible debut." -Alex Faccibenne, Geek Girl Authority

"Han's powerful book examines both the borders put up in the world and the ones we surround ourselves with to protect ourselves in this memorable and innovative debut" -Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"Tragic, funny, and strikingly ingenious, Han's prodigious debut is a spectacular achievement. Seamlessly dovetailed into his sublime multigenerational saga are pivotal history lessons, anti-colonial denunciations, political slaps. For Korean speakers, Han's brilliant linguistic acrobatics will prove particularly enlightening (Jeong is a homophone...