FREE Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had.
Will Soo-Ja find a way to reunite with her one true love or be forced to live out her days wondering "what if " and begin to fully understand the meaning of "chamara"?
"He is not just telling her to stand the pain, but giving her comfort, the power to do so. "Chamara "is an incantation, and if she listens to its sound, she believes that she can do it, that she will push through this sadness. And if she is strong about it, she'll be rewarded in the end. It is a way of saying, "I know, I feel it, too. This burns my heart, too.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-05-16
- Reviewer: Staff
An unflappable heroine anchors Park's epic post–Korean War love story (after Shakespeare's Sonnets). Having grown up in a privileged home in Daegu, Soo-Ja, a brilliant and ambitious 22-year-old woman, has dreams of being a diplomat in Seoul. After her father refuses to let her leave home, however, she sets out to find and marry a weak man who will allow her to make her own decisions. The first candidate is Min, a young revolutionary, who pursues her from afar, writing her letters from Seoul, one of which puts her on a path to meet a charismatic student leader, Yul. Although her feelings for Yul are strong, she marries Min and is immediately faced with the cold realities of his corrupt and hateful family and the realization that she isn't any closer to getting to Seoul. Her responsibilities and, soon, a daughter, keep her trapped in a loveless marriage as she longs for Yul, now a doctor, and a better life. But this is no quiet tale of yearning: the plot kicks in with an unexpected fierceness, and the ensuing action—a kidnapping, fist fights, blackmail—make for a dramatic, suck-you-in chronicle of a thrilling love affair. (July)
Longing for a lost love
Korean-American author Samuel Park grew up listening to his mother’s stories about her life in South Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War, when the country teetered on the brink of modernity while remaining steeped in centuries of tradition. He sets his intriguing novel in this tumultuous period, introducing a fascinating character whose life is forever changed by one very important decision.
The year is 1960, and in Daegu, Soo-Ja Choi dreams of becoming South Korea’s first woman diplomat. Though she is accepted into the program, her wealthy and overprotective father refuses to let her go, wanting her to marry and start a family instead. Reluctantly, Soo-Ja agrees to marry Min, a suitor who has been relentlessly pursuing her. But two days before the wedding, a handsome acquaintance named Yul asks her to run away with him instead. Fearing that she will disappoint her family, Soo-Ja rejects his offer, but realizes after just one night in her new husband’s home what a grave mistake she has made. Divorce is unthinkable in the still male-dominated society, especially after Soo-Ja gives birth to a daughter who means everything to her, but not a day passes that she doesn’t think of Yul and wonder what might have been if she had married him instead.
Traversing the South Korean landscape, from the rural fishing village of Pusan to the bustling capital of Seoul, This Burns My Heart is truly a slice of history, capturing a country very much in transition. But more importantly, it is a love story so simple and universal that, in many ways, it could be set anywhere. With complex, sympathetic characters and vibrant, lyrical prose, Park reminds readers about loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, family and, above all, the enduring power of first love.