A memoir of the author’s parents: the mother a picture bride from Korea married to a man who ends up in an upholstery/furniture/custom drapery businesses and makes a meager, then successful, living in Hawaii during 1920-1940s, with little chance of returning during Japan’s occupation of Korea. A backdrop setting describes the Independence Movement associations organized by the community and the political workings and split of the Hawaiian Korean Methodist church and society. A not atypical immigrant experience story and somewhat flatly told; the tensions in the family are touched on lightly, a sort of rosy sheen of fondness in memory cast on the narrative—a tone that marks many books of this genre. But the story is valuable for the insider’s description of the period and the early Korean diaspora in the islands. Work hard, die young, carry on.
I have been inspired, once more, to re-learn my native tongue.
Last year my husband and I hosted a wonderful thanksgiving with friends and my mom.
I Just Can’t With This
Ever since my children were born, I have lost the ability to watch anything other than comedies.
A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee
Rich language describes a Korean-Japanese-American former WWII medic living quietly in Connecticut in a small provincial town.
Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America, by Mary Paik Lee
Born in 1900, Lee’s aristocratic Christian family fled Korea in 1905, fearful of the plight of their famiy with Japan’s growing political influence and imminent colonial takeover.
Jungsoon, by Myosik Park
A fictional account of two women who fight through years of personal and national devastation, from the Japanese occupation through the Korean War, surviving with tenacity.
Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America 1903-2003, by Jenny Ryun Foster et al
This issue of the Manoa Journal is a centennial celebration of literature of Korean Americans.
The Grass Roof by Younghill Kang
Autobiographical novel of a scholar’s son’s coming of age in small village during the Japanese occupation, though that is felt with some distance.
The Interpreter by Suki Kim
A Korean American novel and mystery about 24-year old Suzy Park who is a court interpreter estranged from her past.