Everything is churning on the Korean peninsula in Washington writer Eugenia Kim’s debut novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter.
In a dream, Najin—the willful young woman at the center of this story about self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and the fraying yet firm bonds of family—glimpses her ancestors’ response to Korea’s early-20th-century sociopolitical upheaval: “I saw how the wind blew their sighs of sorrow, the rain scattered their tears, and snow spread their icy dismay as Western thought, Japan and Bleak Future crossed our unwilling, hermit’s threshold.”
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