White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Bracht

Two Korean sisters describe their experiences during and after WW2. Beautiful atmospheric descriptions of the seaside community where the women earn their living deep sea diving for food. As the war intensifies and one sister is captured by the Japanese to become a 'comfort woman', the writing becomes more basic and brutal. For me, a very demanding read because of the subject matter.

Extract

When the sun rises fully above the ocean waves she will dive with the haenyeo in deeper waters and take her place among the women of the sea. But first they must return to their homes in secret, hidden from prying eyes.
'Hana come home.' Her sister's voice is loud in her ears jolting her back to the present, to the room and the soldier still asleep on the floor beside her. The ceremony fades into the darkness. Desperate not to let it go Hana squeezes her eyes shut.

Parallels
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • All Woman and Springtime by B.W. Jones

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