White Chrysanthemum

White Chrysanthemum

by Mary Lynn Bracht

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

For fans of Min Jin Lee's Pachinko and Lilac Girls, the heartbreaking history of Korea is brought to life in this deeply moving and redemptive debut that follows two sisters separated by World War II.

Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home.

South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness?

Suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum tells a story of two sisters whose love for each other is strong enough to triumph over the grim evils of war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735214446
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 53,136
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Mary Lynn Bracht completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. An American author of Korean descent living in London, she grew up in a large ex-pat community of women who came of age in postwar South Korea. In 2002, Bracht visited her mother's childhood village, and it was during this trip she first learned of the “comfort women.” White Chrysanthemum is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Hana

Jeju Island, Summer 1943

Hana is sixteen and knows nothing but a life lived under occupation. Japan annexed Korea in 1910, and Hana speaks fluent Japanese, is educated in Japanese history and culture, and is prohibited from speaking, reading, or writing in her native Korean. She is a second-class citizen with second-class rights in her own country, but that does not diminish her Korean pride. Hana and her mother are haenyeo, women of the sea, and they work for themselves. They live in a tiny village on Jeju Island’s southern coast and dive in a cove hidden from the main road that leads into town. Hana’s father is a fisherman. He navigates the South Sea with the other village men, evading imperial fishing boats that loot Korea’s coastal waters for produce to repatriate back to Japan. Hana and her mother only interact with Japanese soldiers when they go to market to sell their day’s catch. It creates a sense of freedom not many on the other side of the island, or even on mainland Korea, a hundred miles to the north, enjoy. The occupation is a taboo topic, especially at market; only the brave dare to broach it, and even then only in whispers and behind cupped hands. The villagers are tired of the heavy taxes, the forced donations to the war effort, and the taking of men to fight on the front lines and children to work in factories in Japan.

On Hana’s island, diving is women’s work. Their bodies suit the cold depths of the ocean better than men’s. They can hold their breath longer, swim deeper, and keep their body temperature warmer, so for centuries, Jeju women have enjoyed a rare independence. Hana followed her mother into the sea at an early age. Learning to swim began the moment she could lift her head on her own, though she was nearly eleven the first time her mother took her into the deeper waters and showed her how to cut an abalone from a rock on the seafloor. In her excitement, Hana lost her breath sooner than expected and had to race upward for air. Her lungs burned. When she finally broke the surface, she breathed in more water than oxygen. Sputtering with her chin barely above the waves, she was disoriented and began to panic. A sudden swell rolled over her, submerging her in an instant. She swallowed more water as her head dipped beneath the surface.

With one hand, her mother lifted Hana’s face above the water. Hana gulped in air between racking coughs. Her nose and throat burned. Her mother’s hand, secured at the nape of her neck, reassured her until she recovered.

“Always look to the shore when you rise, or you can lose your way,” her mother said, and turned Hana to face the land. There on the sand, her younger sister sat protecting the buckets containing the day’s catch. “Look for your sister after each dive. Never forget. If you see her, you are safe.”

When Hana’s breaths had returned to normal, her mother released her and commenced diving with a slow forward somersault down into the ocean’s depths. Hana watched her sister a few moments longer, taking in the serene sight of her resting on the beach, waiting for her family to return from the sea. Fully recovered, Hana swam to the buoy and added her abalone to her mother’s catch, which was stowed safely in a net. Then she performed her own somersault, down into the ocean’s thrumming interior, in search of another sea creature to add to their harvest.

Her sister was too young to dive with them when they were that far from the shore. Sometimes, when Hana surfaced, she would look first to the shore to find her sister chasing after seagulls, waving sticks wildly in the air. She was like a butterfly dancing across Hana’s sightline.

Hana was already seven years old when her sister was finally born. She had worried she would be an only child her whole life. She had wished for a younger sibling for so long—all of her friends had two, three, or sometimes even four brothers and sisters to play with each day and to share the burden of household chores, while she had to suffer everything alone. But then her mother became pregnant, and Hana swelled with such hope that she beamed each time she caught a glimpse of her mother’s growing stomach.

“You’re much fatter today, aren’t you, Mother?” she asked the morning of her sister’s birth.

“Very, very fat and uncomfortable!” her mother replied, and tickled Hana’s taut stomach.

She tumbled onto her back and giggled with delight. Once she caught her breath, Hana sat beside her mother and placed a hand on the outermost curve of her bulging stomach.

“My sister or brother must be nearly done, right, Mother?”

“Nearly done? You speak as though I’m boiling rice inside my belly, silly girl!”

“Not rice, my new sister . . . or brother,” Hana added quickly, and felt a timid kick against her hand. “When will she, or he, come out?”

“Such an impatient daughter sits before me.” Her mother shook her head in resignation. “Which would you prefer, a sister or a brother?”

Hana knew the correct answer was a brother, so that her father would have a son to share his fishing knowledge with, but in her head she answered differently. I hope you have a daughter, so that one day, she can swim in the sea with me.

Her mother went into labor that evening, and when they showed Hana her baby sister, she couldn’t contain her happiness. She smiled the widest smile her face had ever known, yet tried with all her might to speak as though she was disappointed.

“I’m sorry that she is not a son, Mother, truly sorry,” Hana said, shaking her head in mock sorrow.

Then Hana turned to her father and pulled his shirtsleeve. He leaned down, and she cupped her hands around his ear.

“Father, I must confess something to you. I’m very sorry for you, that she is not a son to learn your fishing skills, but . . .” She took a deep breath before finishing. “But I’m so happy I have a sister to swim with.”

“Is that so?” he asked.

“Yes, but don’t tell Mother.”

At seven years old, Hana was not skilled in the art of whispering, and gentle laughter rippled through the group of her parents’ closest friends. Hana grew quiet. Her ears burned. She hid behind her father and peeked at her mother from underneath his arm to see if she had also heard. Her mother gazed at her eldest daughter and then looked down at the hungry infant suckling her breast and whispered to her newest daughter, just loud enough for Hana to hear.

“You are the most loved little sister in the whole of Jeju Island. Do you know that? No one will ever love you more than your big sister.”

When she looked up at Hana, she motioned for her to come to her side. The adults in the room grew quiet as Hana knelt beside her mother.

“You are her protector now, Hana,” her mother said in a serious tone.

Hana gazed at her tiny baby sister. She reached out to caress the black tuft of hair sprouting from her scalp.

“She’s so soft,” Hana said with wonder.

“Did you hear what I said? You are a big sister now, and with that comes responsibilities, and the first one is that of protector. I won’t always be around; diving in the sea and selling at the market keeps us fed, and it will be left up to you to watch over your little sister from now on when I can’t. Can I rely on you?” her mother asked, her voice stern.

Hana’s hand shot back to her side. She bowed her head and dutifully answered.

“Yes, Mother, I will keep her safe. I promise.”

“A promise is forever, Hana. Never forget.”

“I will remember, Mother, always,” Hana said, her eyes glued onto her little sister’s peacefully dozing face. Milk dripped from the side of the baby’s open mouth, and her mother wiped it with a swipe of her thumb.

As the years passed, and Hana began to dive with her mother in the deeper waters, she grew accustomed to seeing her sister in the distance, the girl who shared her blankets at night and whispered silly stories into the darkness, until she finally succumbed to sleep. The girl who laughed at everything and anything, a sound that made everyone nearby join in. She became Hana’s anchor, to the shore and to life.

Hana knows that protecting her sister means keeping her away from Japanese soldiers. Her mother has drilled the lesson into her: Never let them see you! And most of all, do not let yourself be caught alone with one! Her mother’s words of warning are filled with an ominous fear, and at sixteen Hana feels lucky this has never happened. But that changes on a hot summer day.

It is late in the afternoon, long after the other divers have gone to the market, when Hana first sees Corporal Morimoto. Her mother wanted to fill an extra net for a friend who was ill and couldn’t dive that day. Her mother is always the first to offer help. Hana comes up for air and looks to the shore. Her sister is squatting on the sand, shading her eyes to look out toward Hana and their mother. At nine years of age, her sister is now old enough to stay on the shore alone but still too young to swim in the deeper waters with Hana and her mother. She is small for her age and not yet a strong swimmer.

Hana has just found a large conch and is ready to shout at her sister to express her joy, when she notices a man heading toward the beach. Treading water so that she can lift herself higher to see him more clearly, Hana realizes the man is a Japanese soldier. Her stomach knots into a sudden cramp. Why is he here? They never come this far from the villages. She scans the beach within the cove to see if there are more, but he’s the only one. He is heading straight for her sister.

A ridge of rocks shields her sister from his view, but it won’t do so for long. If he stays on his current path, he will stumble upon her, and then he will take her away—ship her off to a factory in Japan like the other young girls who disappear from the villages. Her sister isn’t strong enough to survive factory work or the brutal conditions they are subjected to. She is too young, and too loved, to be taken away.

Searching the horizon for her mother, Hana realizes she is down below, oblivious to the Japanese soldier heading toward the water’s edge. She has no time to wait for her mother to resurface, and even if she did, her mother is too far away, hunting near the edge of the reef where it drops into a cavernous void with no seafloor in sight for miles. It is Hana’s job to protect her little sister. She made a promise to her mother, and she intends to keep it.

Hana dives beneath the waves, swimming at full speed toward the beach. She can only hope to reach her sister before the soldier does. If she can distract him long enough, perhaps her sister can slip away and hide in the nearby cove, and then Hana can escape back into the ocean. Surely he wouldn’t follow her into the water?

The current crushes against her as though desperate to push her back out to sea, toward safety. Panicking, she breaches the water’s surface and takes in a deep breath, catching a glimpse of the soldier’s progress. He is still headed for the rocky ledge.

She starts to swim above the waves, aware she is exposing herself but unable to bear staying too long beneath the water for fear of missing the soldier’s advance. Hana is halfway to her sister when she sees him stop. He digs in his pocket for something. Plunging her head back into the water, she swims even faster. In her next breath, she sees him light a cigarette. With every subsequent breath, he moves just a little more. He blows out a puff of smoke, takes a drag, breathes it out, again and again with each lift of her head, until the last breath, when he looks toward the ocean and notices Hana’s race toward him.

Only ten meters away from the shore, she hopes he can’t see her little sister from where he stands. She is still hidden by the rocks, but not for long. Her small hands are on the stony sand, and she is beginning to push herself up to standing. Hana can’t shout at her to stay down. She swims faster.

Hana pitches beneath the surface, pulling the water out of her way with each stroke, until her hands touch the sandy ground. Then she shoots to her feet and runs through the last few meters of shallow water. If he has called out to her as she runs toward the ledge, she can’t hear him. Her heart thunders in her ears, blocking out all sound. It feels like she has traveled across half the earth in that sprint to the shore, but she can’t stop yet. Her feet fly across the sand toward her sister, who is smiling at her in ignorance and preparing to greet Hana. Before her sister can speak, Hana lunges at her, seizing her shoulders and knocking her to the ground.

She covers her sister’s mouth with her hand to keep her from crying out. When she sees Hana’s face hovering above her, she knows better than to cry. Hana gives her a look only a little sister would understand. She pushes her sister into the sand, wishing she could bury her to hide her from the soldier’s sight, but she has no time.

“Where did you go?” the soldier calls down to Hana. He is standing on a low rock ledge overlooking the beach. If he stands on the edge he could look down and see them both lying beneath him. “Has the mermaid transformed into a girl?”

His boots crunch on the stones above them. Her sister’s trembling body feels fragile in Hana’s hands. Her fear is contagious, and Hana, too, begins to tremble. She realizes there is nowhere for her sister to run. From his vantage point, he can see in every direction. They will both have to escape into the ocean, but her sister can’t swim for very long. Hana can remain in the deep water for hours, but her little sister will drown if the soldier decides to wait them out. She has no plan. No escape. The realization sits heavy in her gut.

Slowly, she releases her sister’s mouth and takes one last look into her frightened face before standing. His eyes are sharp, and she feels their piercing touch as they creep over her body.

“Not a girl, but a grown woman,” he says, and lets out a low, grumbling laugh.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "White Chrysanthemum"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Mary Lynn Bracht.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. The narrative alternates between Hana and Emi. Did you connect to one woman more than the other? If so, why?

2. What does being a haenyeo mean to Hana? How does this identity inspire her throughout the novel? Had you heard of the haenyeo before reading White Chrysanthemum?

3. Were you surprised by the way the Japanese treated Koreans during World War II? Has your understanding of the war changed after reading this novel?

4. When we meet Emi, she often dreams of a girl swimming in the ocean (p. 63). Why does Emi feel haunted by Hana? How does Emi remember her sister, and how does this relationship change throughout the novel?

5. Why do you think Morimoto takes such an interest in Hana? How does his interest hurt her? Does it help her in any way? What did you think would happen to Morimoto?

6. When the novel begins, Emi still lives on Jeju Island. What does Jeju Island mean for each sister? In what ways does the island change over the decades, and in what ways does it stay the same? How would this story be different if it was set somewhere else?

7. How does Emi’s relationship with her son and daughter change over the course of the novel? Why do you think she hasn’t told them about her family? Why do you think she changes her mind? Do you agree with her decision to tell them about her past?

8. Is Keiko a friend to Hana? How does Hana’s time in the brothel change her? How do the women she meets there support one another?

9. Were you surprised by how the Mongolians treated Hana? Why or why not? How does Hana change as she spends time in their camp?

10. Had you heard about the One Thousand Wednesdays gatherings before reading this novel? What do these gatherings mean to Emi? What does she find there?

11. How did you feel about the ending? Were you surprised?

Customer Reviews

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White Chrysanthemum 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Beautifully written, engrossing, touching. The characters came alive for me.
Two2dogs 3 months ago
Good book, I had heard of the Korean Comfort Women but did not know the whole story. Its heartbreaking to think that it is still going on today all over the World, where ever there is a War going on women are used as sex slaves.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Colorfully written and tremendously thought provoking, a beautifully written book
Anonymous 9 months ago
%E2%98%86%E2%98%86%E2%98%86%E2%98%86%E2%98%86
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully+written+and+captivating.+Highly+recommended.+Comfort+women+is+a+subject+which+is+not+touched+upon+enough.+
GrannyLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a look at history! Great story telling. Heart wrenching what these girls went through. Story flow between past and current was done well. Would recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’m speechless! I really did stay up half the night to see how it ended!
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars Wow! This was definitely an eye opening read. Not only was it very interesting, poignant and moving, it was based on a real tragedy. I had absolutely no idea that "comfort women" had existed. Estimates of over 200,000 women were kidnapped from their homes & families and brought to brothels where they were brutalized, humiliated and made to service soldiers. Sometimes, 15 to 20 men a day. Estimates are many of these women were never seen again. My heart ached for Hana and Emiko. The atrocities they suffered were severe and totally animal like. The author did a great job in portraying these women. I enjoyed my time with them, meanwhile, my heart going out to them. A beautifully written story about a horrible, horrible atrocity. Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1 of the best books I've ever read!!!!!
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
A tremendous amount of research has obviously gone into the foundation of this work, bringing to light the atrocities against women in the 20th century particularly, but over time, over the world, the brutality of male dominion over women and girls as a general response to war. Hana and Emi are Korean sisters living on Jeju Island in 1943. Jeju women had a distinct independence unusual in the world of women mid-twentieth century. Considered the family providers, these girls and women train from a young age to free dive coastal waters for seafood, seaweed, and other edibles from the deep, they are haenyeo women and much respected. Early morning for diving, clean seafoods on the shore and make way to the market, sell foodstuff in the afternoon. Even in winter this schedule was kept and if any diver were disabled the others would try to make up the difference. You didn't let your friends go hungry. When Hana is 16 and Emi but 9 and still a weak swimmer so doing shore duty guarding the harvest from gulls and crabs, Hana surfaces to see a Japanese soldier on the beach, approaching a point where Emi will be easily sighted by him. Hana swims frantically to shore and diverts the soldier, getting herself captured but keeping Emi safely hidden. Thus begins the nightmare of captivity and enforced duty as a 'comfort woman' for Chinese and Japanese soldiers as Hana is transported into Manchuria under armed guard. On Jeju Island Hana is never heard from again, never spoken of even as the family grows to include Emi's son and daughter, Hyoung and YoonHui. Alternating within this story we have Emi's story told from the focus point of 2011. Emi and her best friend JinHee are still Haenyeo women, still diving most days though in their 70's. And Emi is still silent about her sister's loss, still guilty that that sacrifice was made for her own safety. Until she attends the 1000th Wednesday Demonstration in Seoul while visiting her adult children. The Wednesday Demonstrations are an effort to find justice from the Japanese government for the war crimes committed against Korean women and girls. And the statue placed on that day to mark the 1000th anniversary is of a young girl, a 16 year old image of - Hana. in Korean lore a white chrysanthemum is a symbol of mourning, the yellow chrysanthemum represents Japan's imperial family's power. I received a free electronic copy of this fiction based on fact historical novel from Netgalley, Mary Lynn Bracht, and G. P. Putnam's Sons in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
I do not know where to start…this book is amazing! Hana is a female diver of the sea. One day when she is coming up from a dive, she notices Japanese soldiers heading for her little sister who is on the beach. Hana does everything in her power to save her sister, Emi. And she does, but at the cost of her freedom. Hana is captured and forced to become a “comfort girl” for the Japanese army. First off, let’s touch base with what is a “comfort girl”. As a blogger we are told not to quote a book unless we compare to the final copy. I have not compared this but I am quoting this anyway. This is a comfort girl “Ten hours a day, six days a week, she services soldiers. She is raped by 20 men a day”. Hana was only 16! This is a tragic, heart wrenching story. It really takes you through an emotional roller coaster from the very first chapter. I was captivated all the way till the end. The novel is told by Hana during the occupation in the 1940s and also by Emi during present day. This is a tale of love and tragedy shared by two sisters. This is NOT TO BE MISSED! Read this TODAY! I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
peanutbutterandbooks More than 1 year ago
In Korea, the white chrysanthemum represents the flower of death, of mourning, of the grave. But in this book, the chrysanthemum represents the death of innocence: the brutal stripping away of one young girl's hopes and dreams. On that happy note, I want to warn you: this book is not easy to read. White Chrysanthemum traces the stories of Hana and Emi, two Korean sisters raised as haenyeo on Jeju Island and torn apart by the Japanese during World War II. Bracht alternates between 1943 and the present—Emi, a now-elderly woman, struggles to reunite with her long-lost sister, while Hana, still a young girl in 1943, endures unspeakable tragedies as a comfort woman. As a Korean myself, these stories hit particularly close to home. Comfort women are women forcibly taken from conquered regions—Korea, China, and so on—during World War II to sexually satisfy the needs of Japenese soldiers. (I know. ICK.) The writing is beautiful, but in a raw, honest way that accentuates Hana's innocence and makes her fate that much more heartbreaking. She describes the violence that Hana faces in graphic, heartbreaking detail, leaving me furious and horrified at the depths of cruelty that humans are capable of. However, Bracht also emphasizes Hana's strength and resilience—Hana and Emi's love for each other is truly something to behold. White Chrysanthemum is so compelling in part because of its rich historical details. Hana's ordeals allude to the atrocities of war, and the historical exploitation of vulnerable groups during times of crisis. An enormous amount of research has obviously gone into writing this book, and I WANT TO HUG THE AUTHOR FOR THAT. Books like these are why I love historical fiction—they give voice to the stories that need to be told. I adored the book's depiction of the haenyeo—the independent women divers of Jeju Island. Historically, in Jeju Island, the women sea-dove as their main source of income and food, while the men fulfilled traditionally "domestic" roles. (This granted them a measure of power and influence that was virtually unheard of in basically the rest of Korea, which is super cool!) Above all, however, this is a book about recovery, about having the strength to go on despite having everything taken away from you. Hana and Emi's tales end on a heartwarming note—so don't worry, this book won't leave you feeling completely emotionally drained. If you ever decide to read it, brace your heart—and make sure to have a box of tissues handy.
peanutbutterandbooks More than 1 year ago
In Korea, the white chrysanthemum represents the flower of death, of mourning, of the grave. But in this book, the chrysanthemum represents the death of innocence: the brutal stripping away of one young girl's hopes and dreams. On that happy note, I want to warn you: this book is not easy to read. White Chrysanthemum traces the stories of Hana and Emi, two Korean sisters raised as haenyeo on Jeju Island and torn apart by the Japanese during World War II. Bracht alternates between 1943 and the present—Emi, a now-elderly woman, struggles to reunite with her long-lost sister, while Hana, still a young girl in 1943, endures unspeakable tragedies as a comfort woman. As a Korean myself, these stories hit particularly close to home. Comfort women are women forcibly taken from conquered regions—Korea, China, and so on—during World War II to sexually satisfy the needs of Japenese soldiers. (I know. ICK.) The writing is beautiful, but in a raw, honest way that accentuates Hana's innocence and makes her fate that much more heartbreaking. She describes the violence that Hana faces in graphic, heartbreaking detail, leaving me furious and horrified at the depths of cruelty that humans are capable of. However, Bracht also emphasizes Hana's strength and resilience—Hana and Emi's love for each other is truly something to behold. White Chrysanthemum is so compelling in part because of its rich historical details. Hana's ordeals allude to the atrocities of war, and the historical exploitation of vulnerable groups during times of crisis. An enormous amount of research has obviously gone into writing this book, and I WANT TO HUG THE AUTHOR FOR THAT. Books like these are why I love historical fiction—they give voice to the stories that need to be told. I adored the book's depiction of the haenyeo—the independent women divers of Jeju Island. Historically, in Jeju Island, the women sea-dove as their main source of income and food, while the men fulfilled traditionally "domestic" roles. (This granted them a measure of power and influence that was virtually unheard of in basically the rest of Korea, which is super cool!) Above all, however, this is a book about recovery, about having the strength to go on despite having everything taken away from you. Hana and Emi's tales end on a heartwarming note—so don't worry, this book won't leave you feeling completely emotionally drained. If you ever decide to read it, brace your heart—and make sure to have a box of tissues handy.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
MY REVIEW OF "WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM" BY Mary Lynn Bracht "White Chrysanthemum" by Mary Lynn Bracht is a combination of fiction and historical fiction. The genres for the this story are Historical Fiction, General Fiction, and War Story.  This is a heavy  read about the evils and destruction of war on families and people., both women and men. The story takes place during World War Two, and brings up the history of Korea, and Japan's involvement during the war. It also involves other countries. The story also is written in the present time. The characters are described as complicated and complex as depicted by the events in the story. This is a story about evil times, and the evil things that happened to innocent people, which is often what happens in a war. Hana has lived in Japan occupied Korea as long as she can remember. Hana is a "haenyeo" a female diver of the seas as her mother. Hana's other responsibility is to watch out for her younger sister Emi.  Hana sees a Japanese soldier on the beach and hides her sister. Hana is captured. The characters hold deep dark secrets . In the present day, Emi, is an older woman, who has never told her two children about her sister and guilt. She is trying to remember and forgive  the past to move on. The author discusses the tragedy of war, and the use of Korean Comfort Women, women who were captured to satisfy the pleasure of the Japanese men. Many of these older women never received compensation or apologies from the Japanese government. Many of the difficulties in Korea after World War Two, and the division of the country and other countries involved.  Be warned this is a difficult and heavy book to read. Readers that like reading about War and  the effects of war might want to read this. I was left with many thoughts and a great deal to reflect upon.. I received a copy of this ARC for my honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The author lets us get up close and personal with two sisters, Hana and Emi, and when the story begins they live a good life in South Korea. Their mother and Hana are female divers in the local sea, and earn a living capturing the fresh seafood. All this ideal life comes to a tragic end when Hana is taken by the Japanese, and life as she knew it ceases to exist. The author then takes us into the realities of war and human sex slaves, the part of war that tends to be swept under rug. We later learn how Emi has been affected her whole life from growing up from the innocent four-year-old, to an elderly woman. Through it all she continues to search for her missing sister. We soon learn the meaning of the title of the book, and why they are A story that needs to be told, and with the people we will remember, and dark time in history, and we hope not to be repeated. I received this book through Net Galley and Penguin Group Putman Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Home at last! Reunited sisters who held love & cherished memories within their hearts. Sacrifices were made, families were destroyed & left heartbroken. Forever united in blood, feelings & thoughts, relived eternally hoping to someday reunite in peace. The Statue of Peace left an empty seat only to bring back the lost, loved one & finally fulfill the spirit of sisters forever bound by the ravages of war. Rest In Peace! Love, family & hearts survive !