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Eugenia Kim's Blog

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Bloomsbury UK
It's interesting to see what publishers think their readership will respond to. Here are three different takes on The Calligrapher's Daughter: a UK version by Bloomsbury Publishers that also appears in Australia, a UK audio version by Oakhill Publishers, and the recent and completely different...
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by Rae Meadows
Typically I won’t read the jacket blurbs until I’ve finished reading the book, and so while I had definite expectations of Rae Meadows’ novel, Mothers & Daughters, I had no idea—beyond the title and a friend’s recommendation—about what to expect. There was lots to love right away with this...
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Touch by Alexi Zentner The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht I pair these two stunning books in this essay for several reasons, the least of which is I read them back to back. Though I had earlier heard of both books through different venues, I met Alexi Zentner and Téa Obreht together when we served on a...
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Kimchi @sintaro11308155.jpg
Am thrilled and hungry for the 2011 PBS 13-part series about Korean cuisine. This preview (courtesy NYT Video) of the show entices with shots of lots of red peppery food, and extensive culinary travels in South Korea by series host, Korean American Marja Vongerichten, wife of accompanying traveler...
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The morning after my father attended my high school's PTA meeting, teachers stopped me in the hall to say, "Your father is a remarkable man." By third period, I'd heard from two other teachers that my dad was cool. I thought my father, who rarely went to PTA meetings, was an...
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I struggle with the belief, like many writers, that I have only one story to tell. It’s partly why it took twelve years to write my first novel; if I only have one story to tell, I thought I’d best tell it right. I remember a lecture by writer Max Steele who offered the following closed-eye...
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When Cory Aquino, backed by the uprising of the Filipino people’s “yellow power,” vanquished Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, my in-laws lived in Manila. My father-in-law worked for an NGO, teaching management concepts to outlying village leaders. Though he had translators, he learned Tagalog and in...
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The North Korean capture and Clinton-assisted release of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee brought a compelling human element into a conflict that many Americans know little about. I’m a Korean-American novelist who also paid scant attention to the North Korean regime until Ling and Lee’s 140-day...
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Last night my son and I went to a DC jazz club to hear the band Slumgum, whose pianist is the son of a friend. The musicians on tenor sax (Jon Armstrong), piano (Rory Cowal), bass (David Tranchina) and drums (Trevor Anderies) produced a vital and exciting mix of jazz, improv and contemporary...
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Colm Tóibín gave a short presentation earlier this year at the bookstore Politics & Prose, preceding his reading of the novel, Brooklyn. Among the memorable statements he made was this: he’d forbidden his writing students to use flashback. Though Tóibín has written eloquently about the...
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I grew up in the 1950s, the youngest of six kids in a Korean immigrant family. There were eight of us in a two-bedroom house in Takoma Park, just north of Washington, DC. Outside of school and church duties, we five girls mostly spent our spare time helping my mother make kimchee, which she sold by...
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Roman Polanski’s arrest on September 26 continues to breed stories in the news and spurs me to write. In addition to the more publicized support garnered for Polanski from Hollywood (see The Guardian and NY Daily News), the writer Bernard-Henri Lévy (in The Huffington Post) has gathered signatures...
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Since becoming an author I've given a few readings, and all were wonderful for different reasons, and each brought memories of being read to and readings at the beginnings and endings of life. As I read and looked around the room, I was reminded how my fourth sister and I would listen with rapture...
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Vintage printed Dave Eggers' What Is the What clothbound without a jacket, and Eggers' McSweeney's followed suit (or suit-less) with Zeitoun. Now Penguin will release in October/November a beautiful series of clothbound classics, designed by illustrator Coralie Bickford-Smith. These are a relief...
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Yang vs. Chang
Having recently seen an article about copycat covers (see post before last), when I saw the NYT review of Woman from Shanghai by famed Chinese author Xianhui Yang, I did a literal double take. Mr. Yang's book gets a strong review, yet the cover reflects nothing of its content: privation, starvation...
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