I’m a huge fan of literary journeys. I don’t start them on purpose but I guess I like to jump in rabbit holes… and once I’m in that hole, the experience just becomes part of me. One rabbit hole leads to another and the next thing I know I’ve taken a whole adventure that I never planned or wanted but am grateful for none-the-less. Sometimes the journeys are just short, two or three books. Sometimes they are five or more books. The only thing for certain is that the books rarely are tied together in anyway other than having some tidbit that makes sense with the other books I’ve read. I’m not even certain that others following the same journey will get the same experience – or heck even be able to identify the same thread! I’m not certain how long this next journey will last or even what the combined thread will be – BUT I’ve started it.. and it’s up to you if you’d like to journey along with me.
This is a fictional work following the journey of three North Korean women as they enter the world of human trafficking. Here’s the description from the authors website:
Before she met Il-sun in an orphanage, Gi was a hollow husk of a girl, broken from growing up in one of North Korea’s forced-labor camps. A mathematical genius, she has learned to cope with pain by retreating into a realm of numbers and calculations, an escape from both the past and present. Gi becomes enamored of the brash and radiant Il-sun, a friend she describes as “all woman and spring- time.” But Il-sun’s pursuit of a better life imperils both girls when her suitor spirits them across the Demilitarized Zone and sells them as sex workers, first in South Korea and then in the United states.
This spellbinding debut, reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, depicts—with chilling accuracy—life behind North Korea’s iron curtain. But for Gi and Il-sun, forced into the underworld of human trafficking, their captivity outside North Korea is far crueler than the tight control of their “Dear Leader.”
Tenderhearted Gi, just on the verge of womanhood, is consigned to a fate that threatens not only her body but her mind. How she and Il-sun endure, how they find a path to healing, is what drives this absorbing and exquisite novel–from an exciting young Algonquin discovery—to its perfectly imagined conclusion.
What I liked: Resolution. While all of the loose ends didn’t tie up in the manner that I would have prefered, they did indeed end up knotted. I like a feeling of finality in emotionally charged books.
What I didn’t care for: Well, let’s face it. A book about the sex trade is going to get a bit graphic at times. I do appreciate that he wasn’t at any point gratuitous about it.
Over all, I definitely recommend it for mature audiences. When I read this book I had no idea that it was the start of a journey…. until I picked up the next one… which I think deserves it’s own post. I was tempted to serve McDonald’s cheese burgers to chat this book up based upon a scene in the book… but instead I decided to go with a more classic dish, albeit a lazy americanized version:
**Sorry about this pic – I had to bribe hubby to take it of his lunch. We were all so taken in by the smell of this fantastic beef cooking that we just gobbled it up! Didn’t even think to take a picture until too late. Thanks Mr. Hero!!!**
1/2 to 1 cup beef broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 t pepper
1 beef blade roast 2# or more – I used 3#
Stir all ingredients except beef in crock pot. Place Beef in liquid turning a couple of times to cover all sides. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred with a fork and serve on rolls. Mine wasn’t on rolls but still was fantastic.