Tuesday, April 30
Book Review: Forgotten Country
Author: Catherine Chung
Pages: EBook - 227
Summary: On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.
Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.
Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: There were aspects of the book I did enjoy and others I didn't, but for the most part, it was a well written and enjoyable read.
The characters were okay, they weren't likable, but they were unlikeable either. I think that if I had been able to connect to the characters a little better, the story would have had a different impact on me. Janie was a character who was difficult to like and because the story revolves through her perspective, it definitely influenced how I felt about the book. Her character was difficult to want to know more and I her to be an unreliable narrator.
The plot was slow moving, but it worked well with the book. It slowly explored the family and story and I appreciated the time the author took to develop things. I did find there were a lot of plot devices that were mentioned and hinted at, that never went anywhere. Sometimes issues were brought up, but never mentioned or explored again, and I think that was one of the biggest issues I had with the book. There was a lot of positional for development of both plot and characters but nothing ever came from it, because it seemed to be dropped off.
Despite some of my issue with it, it was a good book.
Would I recommend it to read: I would - even though it's a slow moving book, I think a lot of readers would enjoy the overall message behind it.
What to read next: Thread of Sky
Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge