Book Description


In Don Lee's wonderfully lyrical novel, all sorts of beautiful losers love and leave, burn out and fade away, try to make something out of nothing, and drift apart even as they come together. There is faded glory here, making Lonesome Lies Before Us a kind of allegory for the faded dream of America itself.
Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

I always look forward to and am never disappointed in a Don Lee book. Lonesome Lies Before Us is no exception. A master of detail and understatement, he explores the inner solitude of his characters like a spelunker in a massive cave, revealing beauty with a single piercing light.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

It takes burning courage to write a serious novel about a pair of lukewarm lovers, middle-aged and underemployed. Frighteningly wise, Lonesome Lies Before Us is simply the best — the deepest, most knowing and unsparing — novel about the inhumanity of the world of work in the spiritually depleted twenty-first century that I have seen. But Don Lee’s genius — his originality and dazzling versatility, his intelligence and wit — doesn’t stop there. Somehow he manages to crosscut this bleak vision with a poignant, almost religious view of the vocation of a true artist.
Jaimy Gordon, author of The Lord of Misrule

Don Lee is one of the most emotionally attuned writers I've ever read. His characters seem like people you know and love, people from your past you've lost and wish you hadn't. He makes you fall in love with the kind of people you might never even notice if you saw them on the street, on the subway, on a bus, in the hallway of a hotel. In these times, more than ever, this kind of writing is heroic.
Brad Watson, author of Miss Jane

Like a great country song, Lonesome Lies Before Us overflows with the sadness and sweetness of real life. Don Lee’s wonderful novel is a grown-up love story that lingers in the memory.
Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children

What I love about Don Lee’s work is that you can always feel its intelligence. This novel is about the divide between the intellect and the heart, and the outside forces that impinge, regardless of desire or determination. I suppose we all have an image of our ideal selves. This is not so much about that as about what we gain when we relinquish the impossible, or at least the unachievable. It’s not a downer, in any way: it’s about hope and flexibility, a unique love song in a minor key.
Ann Beattie, author of The State We’re In: Maine Stories

We think the world is explored, discovered until we read such an account as Don Lee's Lonesome Lies Before Us, in which unsung heartbreak gets writ down and copyrighted. There is no warm center here. There are minute details of life after unplanned life. These are details that don't make it out of one's bubble, normally, much less into another's. I am grateful that Mr. Lee has found these lives on earth and in his head and made of these lives such a resonant account.
Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy




In novel form, a contemporary alt-country ballad of heartbreak, failure, love, and unquenchable yearning

Drawn to the music of indie singer-songwriters like Will Johnson, who helped shape the lyrics in this book, Don Lee has written a novel that unforgettably captures America’s yearnings.

Yadin Park is a talented alt-country musician whose career floundered—first doomed by his homely looks and lack of stage presence, then by a progressive hearing disorder. His girlfriend, Jeanette Matsuda, might have been a professional photographer, but for a devastating heartbreak in her teens. Now Yadin works for Jeanette’s father’s carpet-laying company in California, while Jeanette cleans rooms at a local resort.

When Yadin’s former lover and musical partner, the celebrated Mallory Wicks, comes back into his life, all their most private hopes and dreams are exposed, their secret fantasies about love and success put to the test. Beautifully sad and laced with dark humor, Lonesome Lies Before Us is a profound, heartfelt romance, a soulful and memorable song.