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This Burns My Heart
by Samuel Park

Overview - "Chamara "is difficult to translate from Korean to English: "To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? "Such is the burden Samuel Park's audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in "This Burns My Heart, "an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea.  Read more...

 
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More About This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park
 
 
 
Overview
"Chamara "is difficult to translate from Korean to English: "To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? "Such is the burden Samuel Park's audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in "This Burns My Heart, "an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea. On the eve of marriage to her weak, timid fiance, Soo-Ja falls in love with a young medical student. But out of duty to her family and her culture she turns him away, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped by suffocating customs.
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781439199619
  • ISBN-10: 1439199612
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: July 2011
  • Page Count: 310


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

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)

 
BookPage Reviews

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.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

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