Kim Ronyoung Clay Walls

ISBN 13: 9780932966667

Clay Walls

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9780932966667: Clay Walls
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Haesu, a part of the nobility in Korea, immigrates to the United States with her husband Chun, a farmer and finds it more difficult than he to adjust

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Review:

A new contribution to American 'literary ethnography,' this fictionalized account is a Korean-American complement to Alex Haley's best seller. -- Christian Science Monitor

An immigrant novel of quiet power and sensitivity; the story of Koreans fighting their way into American society in the years following WWI. -- Kirkus

At one point in Clay Walls, Faye, a second generation Korean-American, comments that reading is "just a way for me to see how other people live. I haven't found a book yet written about the people I know." Clay Walls begins to fill that gap, giving a clear-eyed view of two generations of Korean-Americans in pre- and post-World War II Los Angeles. The novel starts with recently-immigrated Haesu, who is being "taught" how to clean a toilet by Mrs. Randolph; Haesu "did not know the English equivalent for 'low woman' but she did know how to say, 'I quit' and later said it to Mrs. Randolph." Born a yangban, or an aristocrat, Haesu is determined never to work for anyone else. Her husband, Chun, starts a successful produce business and eventually buys them a house, but Haesu always dreams of going home. Her hatred of anything Japanese is unwavering, especially after she visits Korea and sees that a permanent return is impossible as long as the Japanese are present. Her children grow up in the midst of their mother's fierce pride; when Chun loses their savings and eventually leaves them, Haesu refuses charity and spends endless hours doing piecework embroidery at their table because a yangban would never work outside the home. As one generation gives over to the next, the focus of Clay Walls shifts to Haesu's daughter, Faye, who must find her place between her mother's world and the United States outside her front door. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

From Publishers Weekly:

A multigenerational tale of a Korean family's immigration experiences in America.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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