This Burns My Heart
First-time novelist Park orchestrates a vivid and involving novel about a Korean woman who is robbed of her dreams. In 1960, beautiful, smart, and ambitious Soo-Ja intends to become a diplomat, in spite of her wealthy father's refusal to allow her to go Seoul to study. Taking her mother's hint that travel would be more feasible for a married woman, and flattered by the extravagant gestures of handsome Min, whom she believes is as privileged as she is, Soo-Ja rushes into a loveless marriage, in spite of her feelings for another, only to be cruelly betrayed. But Soo-Ja is a woman of resolve and principles and strives to do the right thing in spite of being forced into poverty and self-effacing servitude to her feckless husband and tyrannical in-laws. Park portrays, with penetrating compassion, individuals trapped in soul-crushing, sexist traditions, meshing Soo-Ja's long, anguished fight to live a fulfilling and meaningful life with postwar Korea's march toward modernity. Smart, affecting, and unabashedly melodramatic, Park's novel of adversity, moral clarity, and love is consuming and cathartic.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Set in post-war South Korea, this novel is the story of Soo-Ja Choi, a privileged young woman trying to escape the suffocating traditions of her family and culture in a country struggling to be reborn. It is a great choice for readers who enjoy the books of Lisa See and Amy Tan.
-- by Karen C.