CHANG-RAE LEE IS a Korean-American author who writes what he knows - his first two novels, Native Speaker (1996) and A Gesture Life (2000), dealt with cultural identity among Asian Americans. They won him literary accolades in the United States and inclusion in the New Yorker's list of twenty notable writers under forty.
Set in the suburbs of Long Island, his third novel, Aloft, is the life story of 59-year-old Italian-American Jerome Battle, who is our narrator. The Battaglia family (their name anglicised to Battle) run a landscaping company. Pop, the patriarch, founded it as a 'bricks and mortar' business; Jerome, his son,