Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category
Those who have traveled in Southeast Asia вЂ“ and Korea in particular — will know right away that the number 4 (pinyin sГ¬) is considered unlucky because it sounds like вЂњdeathвЂќ (pinyin s?). Why, then, did Korean author Kyung-sook Shin carefully craft a novel from four different viewpoints?
The answer is that the members of this family are unlucky, or at the very least, careless. Through years as a family, none of them ever really knew Mom or understood the sources of her strength. And now she has disappeared in a crowded Seoul subway station, where she and her husband of 50 years were about to board a train. Her disappearance devastates those who are left behind.
SATORI, by Don Winslow, is a prequel to the best-selling thriller, SHIBUMI, by Trevanian. Trevanian introduced the world to Nicholai Hel, master of hodo korusu, “the naked kill.” Hel speaks six languages, is a master of the game “Go,” and has a special proximity sense – the ability to detect when any person or thing is nearby. As SATORI opens in 1951, the Korean war is in full swing and the Americans have had Nicholai in solitary confinement for three years for the honor killing of his beloved stepfather, General Kishikawa.
There is much earthy wisdom in the saying: вЂњOne death is a tragedy; a thousand is a statistic.вЂќ By narrating the life stories of six North Korean defectors and their daily struggles, author Barbara Demick underscores this point beautifully. Her moving book NOTHING TO ENVY: ORDINARY LIVES IN NORTH KOREA, lets us look at the human angle behind the news headlines.
Author Chang-Rae Lee had always heard that his father lost a sister on the eve of the Korean War. Then many years later, when Lee decided to interview his father about the war for a college project, he learned that a brother too had been lost then. The real-life horrific details for exactly how this brother was lost in a mass exodus of refugees from North Korea to the South form the backbone of the first chapter in Chang-Rae LeeвЂ™s haunting new novel, The Surrendered. ItвЂ™s breathtakingly well-crafted and details the trek of 11-year-old orphaned June as she travels atop a boxcar full of refugees caring for two of her younger siblings.