“Juhea Kim's debut novel is at once massive in breadth and intimate in scale. Upending Dickens and Tolstoy by setting some of their themes in Japanese occupied Korea, Kim delves into the depths of her characters - social outcasts all - and builds an ensemble of unique voices that speak to today's world nearly a century on from her setting. Parallels are exposed between the imperialism and revolution of early-twentieth-century Korea and early-twenty-first-century America, Britain, Brazil, Venezuela, Myanmar - take your pick - proving that we have not yet learned from history and are still dooming ourselves to repeat the horror of our past. The setting not only allows for a political backdrop that reverberates to modern readers, but also allows Kim to center her characters in a society shift as well; one where mysticism is giving way to harsh reality; where prior social mores are becoming popular entertainment; and where social outcasts can become leaders of industry. This is a thrilling read, and brought to mind the best of Merchant-Ivory films while also exploring the racist and colonizing effects of the aristocracy.”Jesse, Odyssey Bookshop
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