Saturday, April 24, 2010
"The Calligrapher's Daughter" by Eugenia Kim
My grade: A
Although it took me time to get into this book, the final absorption was complete and long-lasting. I cannot shake off the images and the emotions this book has unearthed. It is a beautifully-told story about a woman growing up in Korea, starting in 1915 and spanning all the way to 1945. Although mostly fiction, the story is inspired by the life of the author's mother.
The details of people's lives, described in the book, are often unbelievable and always uncustomary in our western ideals. Kim defines piety and filial respect through the actions displayed, and puts into context a life entirely removed from present-day. Aside from the actual content of the novel, Kim is an amazing storyteller and writer! Truly poetic prose, even when describing terribly gruesome circumstances.
The only thing I didn't really like about this book was the central (and important) theme of Christianity. I felt it was overdone, and yet (or perhaps especially due to the fact that) I felt like the purpose of religion here was not to sway the reader in any direction, but rather portray how important religion was in the lives of these people.