Black Flower by Young-ha Kim

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“‘Can a nation disappear forever?’ . . . [In] a tale of collective loss, political revolution and the individual quest for self-determination . . . Kim brings us the souls caught up on the ground of this larger drama." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

In 1904, facing war and the loss of their nation, more than a thousand Koreans leave their homes for the promise of land in unknown Mexico. After a long sea voyage, these emigrants — thieves and royals, priests and soldiers, orphans and entire families — discover that they have been sold into indentured servitude.

Aboard the ship, the orphan Ijeong fell in love with a nobleman’s daughter; separated when the hacendados claim their laborers, he vows to find her. Then, after years of working in the punishing heat of the henequen fields, the Koreans are caught in the midst of a Mexican revolution. A tale of star-crossed love, political turmoil, and the dangers of seeking freedom in a new world, Black Flower is an epic story based on a little-known moment in history.

“Kim is at the leading edge of a new breed of South Korean writers.” — Philadelphia City Paper

“Spare and beautiful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Readers who remember the historical fiction of Thomas B. Costain, Zoé Oldenbourg and Anya Seton will appreciate [Kim’s] extensive research and empathic imagination." — Kirkus Reviews


About Young-ha Kim

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YOUNG-HA KIM's Black Flower won Korea's Dong-in Prize; his first novel, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself was highly acclaimed upon publication in the United States. He has earned a reputation as the most talented and prolific Korean writer of his generation, publishing five novels and three collections of short stories.
Published October 30, 2012 by Mariner Books. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Black Flower

Kirkus Reviews

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In the same way the place that the characters in the novel hoped to go is a utopia that does not exist in reality.” He goes on to dedicate this work to the 1,033 people who made that fateful journey back in 1905.

Oct 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Black Flower

Publishers Weekly

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Popular Korean novelist Kim (I Have the Right to Destroy Myself) chronicles the woeful tale of 1,033 Korean immigrants, who unknowingly sold themselves into indentured servitude.

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Black Flower

Washington Independent Review of Books

Their journey to the Yucatán in southern Mexico, and ultimately to the abandoned Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, is the story that South Korean novelist Young-Ha Kim tells in his historically inspired novel Black Flower, which is ably translated into English by Charles La Shure.

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Historical Novel Society

I previously knew nothing about Korean immigration to Mexico.

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Arts Fuse

Young-Ha Kim was born in Korea in 1968 and has made a name for himself as a Korean writer of fiction, probably because his first book had the title I Have The Right to Destroy Myself.

Oct 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Black Flower

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