Comfort Woman by NoraOkja Keller

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Possessing a wisdom and maturity rarely found in a first novelist, Korean-American writer Nora Okja Keller tells a heartwrenching and enthralling tale in this, her literary debut. Comfort Woman is the story of Akiko, a Korean refugee of World War II, and Beccah, her daughter by an American missionary. The two women are living on the edge of society—and sanity—in Honolulu, plagued by Akiko's periodic encounters with the spirits of the dead, and by Beccah's struggles to reclaim her mother from her past. Slowly and painfully Akiko reveals her tragic story and the horrifying years she was forced to serve as a "comfort woman" to Japanese soldiers. As Beccah uncovers these truths, she discovers her own strength and the secret of the powers she herself possessed—the precious gifts her mother has given her.

A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
In 1995, Nora Okja Keller received the Pushcart Prize for "Mother Tongue", a piece that is part of Comfort Woman.

About NoraOkja Keller

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Nora Okja Keller was born in Seoul, Korea, and now lives in Hawaii with her husband and two daughters. She received the Pushcart Prize in 1995 for "Mother Tongue," a piece from her first novel, Comfort Woman, winner of a 1998 American Book Award.
Published March 1, 1998 by Penguin Books. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Arts & Photography. Fiction

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Poor, orphaned Kim Soon Hyo was only 12 when her oldest sister raised the money for her own dowry by selling Soon Hyo to the occupying Japanese.

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Publishers Weekly

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This impressive first novel by a Hawaii-based writer of mixed Korean and American ancestry depicts one of the atrocities of war and its lingering effects on a later generation. An intense study of a m

Mar 31 1997 | Read Full Review of Comfort Woman

Publishers Weekly

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Akiko's flashbacks to her haunted past and Beccah's account of their lives together are told alternately, and it is one of Keller's several triumphs that she is able to render the two worlds so powerfully and distinctly.

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