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Herdeiras do mar (2017 original; edició 2020)
de Mary Lynn Bracht, J©ðlia de Mello e Souza
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White Chrysanthemum de Mary Lynn Bracht (2017)
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Good story. Didn’t like the writing style. ( )
It is during WWII, and 16-year old Hana is a haenyeo with her mother in he water on Jeju Island in Korea when she is stolen from the beach in an effort to protect her younger sister from the soldier Hana spotted. She is taken with other young girls to a brothel in Manchuria to “service” the soldiers (these girls/women are later known as “comfort women”). In 2011, an older woman, Emi, is still haenyeo, but has two middle-aged children in Seoul. Emi has kept plenty of secrets from her children about her life when she was younger.
I was not prepared for the amount of violence and rape. I must have known that would be the case when I added it to my tbr, but often, between the time of adding a book to my tbr and actually reading it, I forget what the book is about. I only remembered it being about haenyeo (women divers in Korea). That being said, although I learned about haenyeo in Lisa See’s book, I didn’t know about “comfort women”; the two books have a different focus.
I often like one storyline more than the other in these dual timeline books, but although Hana’s story is the more jarring and powerful of the two (I often “like” those better), I think Emi’s story gave me a bit of a break from Hana’s abuse. Oddly, although I often don’t like unrealistic endings, this one didn’t bother me (and the author explains in her note why she ended it this way). Overall, I thought this was very good.
Korea is under Japanese Occupation and young women are in danger of capture. If captured they are transported to Manchuria and end up servicing the Japanese Army as 'Comfort' women.
From a young age, Hana's mother would state to her, " Look for your sister after each dive. Never forget, if you see her, you are safe."
The whole situation of Hana watching the soldier along the bank, from the water, was riveting. Hana distracts the soldier and saves her sister. But, she is transported to Manchuria and forced to be a sex slave.
This harrowing story offers Hana's life beginning in WWII and Emi in 2011.
This book was well written and yet horrific. I have many reservations about it. I seldom walk away from a read but I had to multiple times during this.
I do believe 'White Chrysanthemum' will be a topic of many book club discussions.
White Chrysanthemum is such an incredibly sad and difficult book to read. It is also unforgettable and hard to put down when one has begun to read. Now it's been a while since I finished the book, but I remember how gripping the book was and how much I learned about Korea during and after World War II.
I found that the book's story, the sisters' fates touched my soul. Hana is captured by Japanese soldiers and Emi has to live with the feeling of guilt of seeing her sister sacrifice herself for her. We then get to follow them through their different lives. Hana who struggles to be free, but she's increasingly losing hope as she is put through ordeal after ordeal. Then, we have Emi who looks back on his life, also filled with tragedy. The ending, well let's say it's a very strong ending.
White Chrysanthemum is an incredibly good book, terribly hard to read, but I promise you will feel enriched after you have read it.
Thanks to Bookmark Förlag for the review copy!
I chose to read this book for my library’s AAPI challenge. I enjoyed the book very much.One thing I really appreciated is that unlike a lot of books that take several chapters to begin the story, this one dove right in, with a lot of action even in the first chapter! I found it hard to put the book down!
The story is told in alternating points of view, a technique that work really well for me in this book. Hana, the older sister, tells her story as current in 1943, when Japan occupied Korea and was in the midst of WWII. Emi, the little sister, tells her story in present day (almost) 2011, but much of the story she tells takes place in the past, and fills in the blanks of Hana’s story. As the story is about kidnapping and the forced sexual slavery of the ‘comfort women’, there is a lot of physical cruelty and it gets intense at times. I appreciated the breaks provided by alternating to Emi’s story, though it was not without cruelty of its own.
I liked most of the characters in the book, but was especially drawn to Hana. I particularly enjoyed reading of her days in Mongolia. Many of the events related in the story were new to me. I may have heard of the Japanese comfort women, but I hadn’t realized it wasn’t usually a voluntary ‘contribution’ and that the women weren’t always Japanese. I didn’t know much of the history of Korea either before or after WWII, so this was interesting to me. And I was fascinated with the details of the haenyeo women, the Korean women who dive the ocean to provide food and income for their families. I also did not realize that there was a movement for the plight former comfort women to be recognized and apologies made, and that this movement still is going on today.
I think this would make a good book club selection for groups who are not overly squeamish. There are scenes of sexual violence as well as physical violence that some readers may not want to read. For those that are not opposed, there is plenty to discuss, from the obvious sex slave trade to war in general and the consequences of war to even those who are not direct participants. There is a book club kit available on the publisher website that includes discussion questions and background information.
I read an ebook copy borrowed from my local library.
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For fans of Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours and Min Jin Lee's Pachinko, a deeply moving novel that follows two Korean sisters separated by World War II. Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a "comfort woman" in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home. South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness? Suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum tells a story of two sisters whose love for each other is strong enough to triumph over the grim evils of war.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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