Author: Nora Okja Keller
Translator: Seon-ju Lee
416 pages | 188*122mm
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|>>>This book is written in Korean.|
About This Book
From Publishers Weekly
The brutal candor and moving empathy that distinguished Keller's first novel about Korea, Comfort Woman, is again evident in this stark, disturbing portrait of that country's outcast children in the wake of the American occupation. Hyun Jin, the adolescent who narrates this absorbing story, is best friends with Sookie, doubly a "throwaway" child because her father was an American GI and her mother, Duk Hee, is a prostitute. Hyun Jin also carries a double burden: her face is disfigured by a large birthmark, and her mother treats her with hateful scorn. A third teenager, Lobetto, is the son of a black GI whose departure doomed Lobetto to a life scrounging as a pimp and a supplier for the whores of Chollak, a village near an army base outside of Pusan. Keller spares no sensibilities in depicting the bleakness and poverty of even ordinary civilian life in the postwar economy and the more desperate conditions of the despised women euphemistically described as "bar girls" at the GI clubs. Yet she sensitively reflects the naevete with which Hyun Jin views the horrifying circumstances of Sookie's life and her slide into prostitution, and the way Hyun Jin succumbs when she is disowned by her father. Hyun Jin's terrible coming-of-age encompasses more than her fall from grace; it's also a poignant story of a baby that she, Sookie and Lobetto share, and of the true bonds of motherhood. Unsentimental in portraying the callousness of human nature that's been degraded by violence and deprivation, Keller achieves eloquence in describing the pureness of spirit to which even the most bitter victim can rise. This rare, honest picture of a marginal society unfamiliar to most American readers is a signal contribution to Asian-American understanding.