Despite the makings of a suspense-thriller, Tae Kim’s debut novel, "War With Pigeons," is a love story – a love story told through the journal of the main character, Simon, whose funeral sets the stage for the novel’s opening chapters. Many people are gathered to commemorate his death, but only a handful prove to have had any particular significance in the protagonist’s life: his mother, the woman he loved and his best friend, Peter.
Peter, a young partner at a New York law firm, has been appointed the administrator of Simon’s estate. It is during his administration of the deceased’s Will that Peter uncovers the journal and therein the details of Simon’s tragic love affair and the events leading up to his death. The journal portrays a very different picture of Simon from the image that Peter had known. Simon’s reflections, codified in a small, black notebook, of the variety Hemingway and Picasso were purported to have used, trigger long-since buried memories of love and loss within Peter’s own heart.
The settings for the novel are no doubt familiar to all Korean-Americans – the Korean cafés, restaurants, clubs and room salons that litter the side streets of midtown Manhattan. Yet, the particular details of these establishments and the patrons who frequent them have, until now, largely remained a black box to those outside the Asian-American community.
Biblical references run seamless throughout the novel in a manner that may be imperceptible to some, obvious to others, lending another dimension to the symbolism and meanings underlying the books engaging story.
At its heart, the novel is a story of love, loss and hope, and written in a style of prose that emphasizes flow and rhythm. By using the device of the journal, the author is able to switch back and forth between two styles of storytelling – the third-person narrative which is intended to be more objective, and the deeply personal first-person narrative of the main character’s journal entries.
"War With Pigeons" is a beautifully written book. Readers will no doubt experience many different emotions while reading through it.
About Tae Kim
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Published August 2, 2010
History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance.