The Calligrapher's Daughter

Eugenia Kim

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The Calligrapher's Daughter

The Calligrapher's Daughter By Eugenia Kim The Calligrapher s Daughter A beautiful deliberate and satisfying story spanning years of Korean history Elegant Publishers Weekly starred review In early twentieth century Korea Najin Han the privileged daughter of a call

  • Title: The Calligrapher's Daughter
  • Author: Eugenia Kim
  • ISBN: 9780805092264
  • Page: 383
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Calligrapher's Daughter By Eugenia Kim A beautiful, deliberate and satisfying story spanning 30 years of Korean history Elegant Publishers Weekly starred review In early twentieth century Korea, Najin Han, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher, longs to choose her own destiny, though her country newly occupied by Japan is crumbling, and her family, led by her stern father, is facing diffic A beautiful, deliberate and satisfying story spanning 30 years of Korean history Elegant Publishers Weekly starred review In early twentieth century Korea, Najin Han, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher, longs to choose her own destiny, though her country newly occupied by Japan is crumbling, and her family, led by her stern father, is facing difficulties that seem insurmountable Narrowly escaping an arranged marriage, Najin takes up a new role as a companion to a young princess But the king is soon assassinated, and the centuries old dynastic culture comes to its end.Najin pursues a coveted education and is surprised to find love After one day of marriage a denied passport separates her from her new husband, who continues alone to America As a decade passes and the world descends into war, Najin loses touch with her husband Will the love they share be enough to sustain her through the deprivation her country continues to endure The Calligrapher s Daughter is a richly drawn novel about a nation torn between ancient customs and modern possibilities, and is a vivid, heartfelt portrait of faith, love and life for one family during a pivotal time in history Bookpage.
    The Calligrapher's Daughter By Eugenia Kim

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    One thought on “The Calligrapher's Daughter

    1. Patricia Callegari on said:

      Some reviewers have written that this book starts too slowly, but I was captivated from the opening sentence, I learned I had no name on the same day I learned fear At the heart of the story, told from several points of view, is Najin, the calligrapher s daughter Though headstrong and ambitious, she is bound in ways Westerners cannot understand to family and tradition.Based loosely on the lives of her parents, the author has fashioned a story that seamlessly weaves a tapestry of ancient pre war [...]

    2. Chrissie on said:

      I do not recommend this book If I ask myself what I think of it, my response is Yeah well, it was OK I have no enthusiasm I have no urge to try and convince you to pick it up You can learn a bit from the book There are some interesting facts about Korean history, but you can just as well skim A book of historical fiction is supposed to make history come alive The book doesn t do that If you choose to read this book you must be aware that the religious content is a very central theme That Christi [...]

    3. i. on said:

      I hadn t read historical fiction in a long time and I only started this novel because it was about Korea , which I was planning on visiting.I didn t know anything about the Japanese invasion of Korea and I really liked the way it was explained through the eyes of the main character , a girl and then a woman without a name Their traditional way of living before the Japanese , the influence of religion and their fight for freedom are vividly described by Eugenia Kim Women s rights and education al [...]

    4. Christine on said:

      Soft, gentle prose shapes an unnamed girl s story as she endures a diminished pedigree, loss of hopes and home together with a failed marriage during the Japanese occupation of Korea in Eugenia Kim s The Calligrapher s Daughter.A traditional, upperclass Korean man, the girl s father shows his disappointment at the birth of a daughter, by declining to name her when her birth coincides with the fall of Korea to the Japanese Najin, as the girl comes to be nicknamed at age eight, struggles to unders [...]

    5. Blodeuedd Finland on said:

      Another win This was a great book, and I would recommend it to fans of Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Leaving Mother Lake by Yang Erche Namu Christine Mathie, and even Memoirs of a geisha by Arthur Golden I got the same feeling as I got from those books, and not just because those took place in China and Japan, and this one in Korea No, it was because two of those were about real events, and in this one the author was inspired by her mother s story There was reality and everyday life And life in a ti [...]

    6. Amy on said:

      Anyone who has been reading my reviews knows I love historical fiction Some of my favorite historical novels are based on some actual event, educate me about places and times that I know very little about, and are both well written and well researched The Calligrapher s Daughter by Eugenia Kim fits all the above mentioned criteria Based in part on the experiences of Kim s own mother, The Calligrapher s Daughter opens in the early twentieth century Korea, at the end of the Joseon Dynasty Najin Ha [...]

    7. Jeanette"Astute Crabbist" on said:

      I ve been trying SO hard to like this book I keep telling myself if I read just a little , maybe things will gel and I can bond with the book But after almost 100 pages it s just not happening for me, so I m done trying This is a book where the writing is quite good but the storytelling is not, if that makes sense She takes FOREVER to build up to a particular event, and then when something happens, it doesn t really happen She passes over it quickly and goes back to building up to the next non e [...]

    8. Mobyskine on said:

      History, tradition and culture all in one A story of a girl since her younger age to marriage life family and love, in pursuing her dreams and being a good daughter with some religious principles in between Few events were told beautifully depicting the feelings and hardships during the Japanese colonial rule in Korea Content was okay though sometimes a bit slow, and character s traditional beliefs sometimes give me a bit of uneasy feeling I m not really into historical stuff but somehow the sto [...]

    9. Kristin Lee Williams on said:

      I ll tell you the truth about this one I almost gave it up The first 1 3 or so of the book is pretty slow moving and I had a hard time getting in to it Then, all of the sudden, it takes off and turns in to one of the most beautifully moving books I ve ever read I loved the insight into Korean culture and history I learned a lot that gave me some new thoughts about the Korea of today I especially loved the father in the story He was a difficult, crusty seeming man but he was losing everything he [...]

    10. Amy on said:

      All I knew about pre Korean War history was, well, nothing So I found myself doing research on the side as I m apt to do when reading about an unfamiliar place or time But the lack of knowledge didn t hurt when reading this book, the story of early 20th century Korea comes out through the unnamed daughter, Najin, and her family friends It s beautiful Hauntingly and achingly beautiful Najin seems so real conflicted about everything tradition vs progress, love vs freedom, so forth and so on There [...]

    11. Pamela on said:

      Gaining understanding of differing eras, cultures, customs, regions, beliefs, and ideologies through well written historical fiction is a wonderful and enriching experience Eugenia Kim takes readers on an enlightening journey into early twentieth century Korea during the transitional years of Japanese occupation The Calligrapher s Daughter is a bittersweet coming of age story, as well as a spiritual quest where ancient Confucius beliefs intertwine and collide with modern Christianity in the Nahj [...]

    12. Diana on said:

      This book took me a long time to get through partially because it goes so slowly, and partially because I know nothing about the Japanese occupation of Korea I think the author assumes the reader knows than they do I definitely learned a lot about that period of time, but I felt like the main character fell flat for me The book is seemingly supposed to revolve around her, but suddenly the author would write chapters devoted to the mom, the father and even a few times, the brother I would have l [...]

    13. Tara Chevrestt on said:

      This is truly a heartwarming and lovely tale, one of those novels that touches you in such a way, you hate for it to end It is story of a Korean girl and her mother, a story of a proud nation battling the aggressiveness of another, a story of a man coming to understand and accept that old ways and lifestyle must change, and a story of love that survives many hardships All these stories in one magnificent novel The Korean girl, Najin, is growing up in a very Confucian household Her mother, howeve [...]

    14. Susan (aka Just My Op) on said:

      I learned I had no name on the same day I learned fear The haunting first line promises good things to come and does not disappoint This Korean daughter was called Najin, the town of her mother, in lieu of a name because her father would not grant her a naming ceremony or a name.Najin s family is very traditional and privileged at the beginning of the 20th century, when Japan starts dominating Korea As a girl child, Najin is taught traditions and restraints incomprehensible to most of us today, [...]

    15. Brian on said:

      This is the story of a Korean family struggling through the decades leading up to and including WW II It specifically follows the daughter of a traditional Korean scholar There are several themes 1 The loss of cultural identity as Japan absorbs Korea and attacks China 2 The loss of traditional Korean family values between the generation of the father and that of the daughter 3 A crisis of faith The protagonists are Christian and believe their suffering to be part of a plan, which over time tests [...]

    16. Belinda on said:

      What I learned is that I have had it way too easy in my Western lifestyle, chock full of running water, indoor plumbing, no fear of occupation by a brutal nation, and not supressed by a patriarchial society that prizes obedience, servitude, and humility in its women Whew.Having said typed all that, I m fascinated by women who live in these cultures and find ways to survive and even thrive Thousand Splendid Suns , Memoirs of a Geisha , and Wild Swans are other books I ve read with similar themes, [...]

    17. Sandra on said:

      Eugenia Kim s The Calligrapher s Daughter is a journey through Korean history, describing life in Korea under Japanese rule, and the effect of the war that followed.I can only imagine that this book was not meant for the Korean public, but much for a public unaware of Korean history, as the book is quite factual and fills you in on many happenings during this time A South Korean friend of mine actually explained Korean history in a similar fashion as happened here in the book factual, with a pe [...]

    18. Zara Garcia-Alvarez of The Bibliotaphe Closet Blog on said:

      The narrative is delicate and sensitive as the mannerisms and language of traditional Korean propriety And though the daughter of the calligrapher is born unnamed, her strength of character and unwavering discipline and grace evolves as naturally, artistically, and raw as the process of calligraphy itself It goes without saying that the art of Korean calligraphy is one engraved with history, tradition, years of training, depth of feeling, artistic pride, and fluidity.Yes, the novel is about the [...]

    19. Kristine Brancolini on said:

      Eugenia Kim is an extremely gifted writer and her lyrical prose is perfectly suited to this book based on the life of her mother and her struggles during the 35 years that Korea was occupied by Japan, 1910 1945 These years also correspond to the first 35 years of Najin Han s life Kim deftly portrays the radical changes that the Han family went through as their aristocratic way of life was slowly and systematically destroyed by the Japanese Najin narrates most of the book and through her the read [...]

    20. El on said:

      I m going to preface this review by admitting that I do not know much about Korean history, and the little bit of personal experience I have comes from what I ve learned from the characters Lane Kim and her mother on Gil Girls, and from what I understand of the two Korean surgeons where I work.With that said, I adored this book It covers 30 years in the life of Najin Han, the daughter of a calligrapher Her father, the calligrapher, is traditional in all senses of the word and wants to marry Naji [...]

    21. Felice on said:

      The intimate story of the novel is the life of the unnamed daughter of a successful calligrapher Coming as she did with the Japanese so to speak the daughter is viewed by her father Han as a shame brought on the family and Han refuses to name the girl As the Japanese take over and of the government, police and culture in Korea, Han becomes bitter and resentful He is an artist and activist, a scholar who struggles to recapture Korea s glory and independence.Najin s life, as the daughter is nick [...]

    22. Carla on said:

      This is a story set in Korea just after the turn on the 20th century, until after World War II It s the story of Nadjin, the first born of a famous artist calligrapher Her father is steeped in the culture and traditions of his country and fiercely resents the annexation and rule of Korea by Japan He is very traditional and discounts the value of a tomboyish highly intelligent girl His disdain goes so deep that he fails to choose a name for her or have a naming ceremony on her 100th day as is the [...]

    23. Karen on said:

      Thirty years in the life of a famous Calligrapher s daughter in Japanese occupied Korea, 1915 1945 Knowing very little about that occupation, I found this book very informative of the time period The first of the book is very slow giving up on it, I m glad I persevered Two thing stand out after finishing.1 how hard life was in Korea at that time for everyone, especially if you were a woman and 2 becoming much informed about that part of the world during the 30 years the book spans, even about K [...]

    24. Meghan on said:

      I thought this was going to be about occupied Korea, which it is But the main story is about one woman s journey and self discovery And as Hallmark Channel sounding as that is it really does make for an interesting story.I should probably give it only 4 stars The writing is at times uneven, with the voice altering in unexpected places, breaking the rhythm And the ending got a little overly earnest But I ll forgive this minor quibbles as this is a first novel and Kim tells an otherwise extraordin [...]

    25. Wendy on said:

      I m wavering between giving this 3 or 4 stars, but I think the author fell a little short of making this a great novel Her knowledge of the history of Korea during the Japanese invasion is unquestionable, but I think she lacked a connection with the storyline There was the typical traditional father who treated his daughter as if she were worthless and the lazy no good son who was the antithesis of all his father s hopes and dreams However, the relationship between Najin and her mother brought m [...]

    26. Rebecca Huston on said:

      For a first novel this one was very good, with the heroine, Najin, being a wee bit of a doormat, but it was the secondary characters and story that kept me going Set during the Japanese occupation in Korea on through to the end of WWII, this one turned out to be much better than I thought it would be Too, the author thoughtfully included a glossary and an author s note All in all, I really liked this one, and I suspect that I just might reread it again in the future sometime Four stars overall, [...]

    27. Isis on said:

      I found the setting Korea under Japanese occupation fascinating, but that s about it for fascination This is a boring book that collapses under the sheer weight of its exposition, with prose that is sometimes beautifully evocative, but often plodding and murky The POV switches between first person Najin and third person everyone else, mostly her father , which I find irritating in the extreme Najin holds progressive views but never acts on them, doubts her faith but never explores her doubt The [...]

    28. Judy King on said:

      This book is set in Korea just before and during WWII an interesting viewpoint of those years that I ve not read before The Calligrapher s family are all Christians, Methodists, which adds another angle to the game There are hardships, some extraordinary, there are love relationships and friendships, losses and griefIt is Truly a fine story well told

    29. lauren on said:

      this was a great book i enjoyed the story, but even than that, the glimpse it gave into Korean history and culture.

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