The Leavers: A Novel Summary
Lisa Ko

Everything you need to understand or teach The Leavers by Lisa Ko.

  • The Leavers: A Novel Summary & Study Guide

The Leavers: A Novel Overview

In her debut novel, The Leavers, Lisa Ko tells the story of Polly Guo and her son Deming, who are separated after Polly, an undocumented Chinese worker living in New York, disappears. Deming is adopted by Kay and Peter Wilkinson, a white couple living in upstate New York and working at a local college. While Deming wrestles with his Chinese-American identity and the mystery of what happened to his mother, Polly strives to advance her career in China and to move forward with her life. The Leavers tackles themes such as family, home, immigration, and motherhood.

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