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If You Leave Me
by Crystal Hana Kim


Overview -

"An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken." -- People

"Heartrending . . . a stunning feat of lyricism." -- USA Today

"One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you'll read this year." -- Nylon Magazine

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love--the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they're forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.  Read more...


 
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More About If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
 
 
 
Overview

"An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken." -- People

"Heartrending . . . a stunning feat of lyricism." -- USA Today

"One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you'll read this year." -- Nylon Magazine

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love--the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they're forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family's makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn't realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi--and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.

Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman's longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062645173
  • ISBN-10: 006264517X
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: August 2018
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Asian American
Books > Fiction > Sagas

 
BookPage Reviews

Six new authors you need to know

Become a fan from the very beginning, as these six outstanding new novelists make their debuts with deeply emotional narratives peopled with tremendous characters that will leave you aching for more.


IF YOU LEAVE ME
By Crystal Hana Kim

For fans of: Lisa See, Amy Tan, Toni Morrison and Jesmyn Ward.

First line: “Kyunghwan and I met where the farm fields ended and our refugee village began.”

The book: In war-torn Korea, Haemi and Kyunghwan find love in a refugee village, but honor and duty take precedence when a wealthy man begins courting the spirited Haemi.

The author: Winner of the PEN America’s Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, Crystal Hana Kim is a contributing editor for Apogee Journal and lives in Brooklyn.

Read it for: Lyrical prose that offers an unflinching look at motherhood and the aftermath of American imperialism.


BABY TEETH
By Zoje Stage

For fans of: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and movies like The Babadook, The Bad Seed and The Ring.

First line: “Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke.”

The book: Upscale parents grapple with an inexplicable and unremitting evil—in the form of their 7-year-old daughter.

The author: Zoje Stage is a former filmmaker and screenwriter who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Read it for: One more book to talk you out of procreating.


FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE
By Ingrid Rojas Contreras

For fans of: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.

First line: “She sits in a plastic chair in front of a brick wall, slouching.”

The book: Two coming-of-age stories—that of rich city girl Chula and her maid, Petrona—overlap during Colombia’s violent 1990s.

The author: A Bogotá native, Ingrid Rojas Contreras and her family fled to Los Angeles when she was 14. She now writes for HuffPost and NPR, and teaches writing to immigrant high schoolers in San Francisco.

Read it for: A first-hand glimpse into the plight of vulnerable Colombian children in the recent past.


THE SHORTEST WAY HOME
By Miriam Parker

For fans of: Camille Perri, Elin Hilderbrand and Stephanie Danler.

First line: “I would have never predicted that a winery could change my life.”

The book: A business school graduate lands a coveted New York investment job, but her heart is set on a path less traveled (quite literally) in the wine country.

The author: Miriam Parker has worked in publishing for more than 17 years and is currently an associate publisher at Ecco. She lives in Brooklyn with her dog, Leopold Bloom.

Read it for: The love of wine, and the inspiring tale of taking chances and dreaming of a life more rewarding than a nine-to-five job.


LET ME BE LIKE WATER
By S.K. Perry

For fans of: Mitch Albom, Anne Tyler and Rachel Khong.

First line: “I was sitting on a bench at the beach when Frank told me I’d dropped my keys.”

The book: After the death of her boyfriend, 20-something Holly finds solitude and hope at the seaside in Brighton, in particular through a new friendship with an elderly, retired magician.

The author: The author of the poetry collection Curious Hands: 24 Hours in Soho, S.K. Perry was long-listed for London’s youth poet laureate in 2013.

Read it for: A sense of comfort, and for a reading experience as soothing and cathartic as ocean waves lapping at your toes.


BROTHER
By David Chariandy

For fans of: Zadie Smith, Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn.

First line: “Once he showed me his place in the sky.”

The book: The lives of two Canadian brothers are forever changed after a violent shooting draws additional police scrutiny to their neighborhood.

The author: David Chariandy grew up in the same Toronto public housing as the family in Brother. He currently teaches English at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He has been previously published in his native Canada (the critically acclaimed novel Soucouyant), but this is his first novel to be published in the United States.

Read it for: A poignant and timely look at community, family and race in a setting that will be new to many American readers.


August is First Fiction Month at BookPage! Click here to read all our First Fiction coverage on the blog; click here to read our most recent coverage of debut novels.


This article was originally published in the August 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Kim photo credit Nina Subin.
Stage photo credit Gabrianna Dacko.
Contreras photo credit Jeremiah Barber.
Parker photo credit Shannon Carpenter.
Perry photo credit Naomi Woddis.
Chariandy photo credit Joy von Tiedemann.

 
BAM Customer Reviews