Forgotten Country

Forgotten Country

Book - 2012
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A Booklist Top 10 First Novels of 2012 pick
A Bookpage Best Books of 2012 pick

On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.

Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.

Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9781594488085
Characteristics: 296 p.


From Library Staff

debwalker Mar 09, 2012

Haunting stories of loss and disappearance through generations of a Korean-American family.

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Jun 12, 2017

Oct 17, 2013

Oct 22, 2014

I wanted to like this book, but no matter how I tried I couldn't identify with any of the characters. Too much self-absorbtion on the parts of the father and both daughters, I finally decided. And so many of the characters (the father's older sister, for example) were 2 dimensional and completely unaware of how they might affect others. And her sons were barely even one-dimensional.
It could've been so very much better than it is.
By contrast I would recommend The Interpreter by Suki Kim.

Jun 09, 2013

Highly recommended.Great story of an immigrant family struggling with memories and relationship. Most memorable and its readers will benefit from the life of this book's characters

mrsgail5756 Oct 03, 2012

A very good read. I enjoyed this book I would recommend this book for all to read.

Jun 27, 2012

Was an easy read but didn't feel it answered the questions the protagonist was searching for. Kind of left you hanging and wondering.

mulberrystreet Apr 29, 2012

This wasn't really what I was expecting. It was an easy read and well written, but not the most exciting book.

cwaite Apr 27, 2012

The book hit a bit close to home as the main character and I have a few things in common, but I couldn't get to like the main character at all. I couldn't understand her motives or appreciate what she thought she was doing for the good of her family...

debwalker Mar 09, 2012

Haunting stories of loss and disappearance through generations of a Korean-American family.

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