His entry begins:
I recently finished Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation, a terrific novel about a Chinese girl who immigrates to America and discovers the underbelly of the American Dream. Kwok offers a surprising but satisfying twist on the expected happy ending. I’m also rereading Janice Y. K. Lee’s wonderful The Piano Teacher, about a young English woman discovering her true self in the aftermath of World War II. I love, in particular...[read on]Among the early praise for This Burns My Heart:
“A captivating debut novel from Chicago-based author Park… Park’s novel can be read as a contemplation of loss and the angst of unrequited love, much like Dr. Zhivago… Readers will be intrigued as Soo-Ja breaks from tradition to take control of her destiny, an emotionally charged personal drama played out against the backdrop of energetic South Korea as it transitions from a war-torn and oppressed country into a prosperous modern nation. Protagonist Soo-Ja’s story will enthrall in this first-rate literary effort.”Learn more about the book and author at Samuel Park's website and blog.
--Kirkus Reviews, Editor's Pick
“An unflappable heroine anchors Park’s epic post–Korean War love story…This is no quiet tale of yearning: the plot kicks in with an unexpected fierceness, and the ensuing action–a kidnapping, fist fights, blackmail–make for a dramatic, suck-you-in chronicle of a thrilling love affair.”
“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 to 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.”
--Donna Seaman, Booklist
The Page 69 Test: This Burns My Heart.
Writers Read: Samuel Park.