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The Calligrapher's Daughter (2009)

by Eugenia Kim(Favorite Author)
3.75 of 5 Votes: 3
0805089128 (ISBN13: 9780805089127)
Henry Holt and Co.
review 1: A difficult read at times--effort is required to keep the Korean names and objects straight (though an in-book glossary helps), the voice moves from first person to third person, narration from Najin's point of view to her father's or her brother's. In addition, traditions that kept women as household objects to be tolerated have to be accepted. And I reminded myself that I was "offended" only because of my 20th century American attitudes. It really was good to stay objective to the oddities of pre-occupation Korea. There were many times when I was caught with the irony of the disdain the Koreans had for Japan...how similar to the distaste we see in Japanese for Americans.A pleasing surprise was the faith influence. Apparently the Christian influence--a predominantly Metho... moredist influence--was strong and vibrant well before the 21st century. There is a mix of Christian and Confucian thought, but salvation through faith in Christ is spoken loudly. Some reviews have been critical of this feature, which seems strange because a large part of Najin's story her wavering faith. A conversation between Najin and Calvin concerning suffering as a gift from God seems offer a premonition to the difficult years of separation, solitude and servitude for Najin's husband' parents, imprisonment, loss of a dear sister-in-law, and years of famine due to the war effort. There is redemption, however. After the war, Najin and Calvin are reunited.
review 2: This is one of my new favorite books. The lovely writing is quiet but powerful, from characters whose culture values decorum. I learned Korean history and got a glimpse of what things look like from inside their culture. The author shows the strength in all of her characters--even when they do things that make me angry, there is redeeming value in the person. Themes of faith questions and developing identity amid great change are addressed with honesty and hope. I was torn between wanting to read more and wanting to slow down so the book would last longer. The reader on the audio book is very good, and there was one passage so beautiful I had to get the paper copy from the library too so I could copy it down. less
Reviews (see all)
Reading about another culture is always fascinating and that also had a great story.
The entire religious slant kept the book from truly shining.
I found this book rather boring and tedious.
couldn't finish
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