A Person of Interest (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Lee, whose first name is never given, was born in an unspecified Asian country but has been in the United States most of his life. He is in his late sixties, nearing the end of a rather mundane career in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at an undistinguished university in a small town in the Midwest. He lives alone, and he is in general distanced from the community and the college. Not ready to retire from teaching because he has nothing else to do, he foresees none of the upheavals that will change his set routines and force him to reevaluate his entire life history.
As Susan Choi’s novel A Person of Interest opens, Lee is realizing that he had never liked the bomb victim, his colleague Professor Hendley, and that much of that dislike was because, unlike himself, Hendley was young and popular with students. Their offices were next to each other, and Lee jealously noticed that students seldom came to see him, but there were often lines of students eager to talk with Hendley. Both professors, however, are alone in their offices when Hendley opens a small packet he has received through campus mail and it explodes in his face. Lee is knocked over by the blast, and it is a student who first sees Hendley and calls for help. Hendley is taken to intensive care at the local hospital, where he dies a few days later.
No culprit is immediately identified, and rumors abound. Lee is startled when it begins to appear that he is...
(The entire section is 1700 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Booklist 104, no. 8 (December 15, 2007): 24.
Kirkus Reviews 75, no. 21 (November 1, 2007): 1117.
Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2008, p. R3.
The New York Times Book Review, February 17, 2008, p. 9.
The New Yorker 84, no. 3 (March 3, 2008): 83.
Publishers Weekly 254, no. 44 (November 5, 2007): 41.
The Village Voice 53, no. 5 (January 30, 2008): 47.
Vogue 198, no. 2 (February, 2008): 25.
The Wall Street Journal 251, no. 15 (January 18, 2008): W2.
The Washington Post Book World, February 24, 2008, p. BW07.
(The entire section is 53 words.)