The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
A Novel

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A sweeping debut novel, inspired by the life of the author’s mother, about a young woman who dares to fight for a brighter future in occupied Korea

In early-twentieth-century Korea, Najin Han, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher, longs to choose her own destiny. Smart and headstrong, she is encouraged by her mother—but her stern father is determined to maintain tradition, especially as the Japanese steadily gain control of his beloved country. When he seeks to marry Najin into an aristocratic family, her mother defies generations of obedient wives and instead sends her to serve in the king’s court as a companion to a young princess. But the king is soon assassinated, and the centuries-old dynastic culture comes to its end.

In the shadow of the dying monarchy, Najin begins a journey through increasing oppression that will forever change her world. As she desperately seeks to continue her education, will the unexpected love she finds along the way be enough to sustain her through the violence and subjugation her country continues to face? Spanning thirty years, The Calligrapher’s Daughter is a richly drawn novel in the tradition of Lisa See and Amy Tan about a country torn between ancient customs and modern possibilities, a family ultimately united by love, and a woman who never gives up her search for freedom. 


About Eugenia Kim

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Eugenia Kim is the daughter of Korean immigrant parents who came to America shortly after the Pacific War. She has published short stories and essays in journals and anthologies, including Echoes Upon Echoes: New Korean American Writings, and is an MFA graduate of Bennington College. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. The Calligrapher's Daughter is her first novel. Lorna Raver has been named a Best Voice of the Year by AudioFile magazine and has been nominated for Audie Awards for her readings of Washington Square by Henry James, Nothing with Strings by Bailey White, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ravens of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson. She has also received numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations. An accomplished stage actress, Lorna has also guest-starred in many top television series, and she stars in director Sam Raimi's film Drag Me to Hell.
Published March 30, 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.. 416 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Calligrapher's Daughter

Suite 101

While the tale of Najin’s childhood, youth and adulthood is enjoyable in itself, an additional depth and richness is added as Kim shares details related to family dynamics, religion, literature, education, daily routines, politics, medicine, clothing, food, relationships, traditions and the exper...

| Read Full Review of The Calligrapher's Daughter: ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Critics found Japanese-occupied Korea an intriguing setting that serves to distinguish Kim’s work from an abundance of Asian mother-daughter novels, and Najin’s conflict with her traditional father skillfully mirrors Korea’s bitter struggle with occupying forces.

Aug 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Calligrapher's Daughter: ...

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