ARRAY(0xb3d233fc)
 
Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Calligrapher's Daughter, 22 Dec 2011
By 
This review is from: The Calligrapher's Daughter (Paperback)
Najin Han is born in Korea just as it becomes a colony of Japan in 1910 and grows up in a country that is mourning the loss of its freedom and age-old traditions. Her father clings on to traditional views and customs in the face of rapid change and discrimination, making it hard for Najin to gain an education and employment. As the rule of Japan becomes more oppressive and opportunities for Koreans narrow, Najin must do all she can to support her family and balance her traditional upbringing with Japanese rule and the reality of modern Korea.

The Calligrapher's Daughter is a leisurely read packed full of lovely description. From the winter snow to the rustle of clothes to the smell of cooking, I felt as though Kim had transported me back in time and half way around the world to Korea. Unlike a lot of historical fiction, she used showing rather than telling as her main literary device. Despite not being explicitly told that 'yangban' meant a respected class of people in former Korea, it was easy to guess this through the use of the word. And there was a lot of this trust in the reader to work things out for themselves, which I really liked as it made me feel like an observer to the story, rather than the main reason the story is being told.

Najin was a likeable main character and it was hard as a modern woman not to sympathise with her struggles against her father's traditional views. Najin goes through hardships and good times during the course of the novel and I definitely empathised with her when things were rough. A lot of the story is apparently based on the story of Eugenia Kim's family, which added a bit of weight to the story and my reaction to it.

I do think there were some pacing issues with this novel. It starts with a very slow, leisurely pace which I personally enjoyed as it was like being immersed in Korea at the time and I love the little details in historical fiction. This slow pace continues through most of the book. By the last third, I was used the characters spending time thinking about the events of the novel when suddenly things sped up. I don't know if Kim wanted to finish the book quickly, or convey some kind of urgency, but I found the change in pace and the swiftness of the ending unsettling when compared with the rest of the novel. I still very much enjoyed it, but I felt a bit unsettled after the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.4 out of 5 stars (48 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (29)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
7.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,262