Year of the Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi

October 13, 2008
By Anna Frederick, Rehoboth Beach, DE

Year of Impossible Goodbyes was a heart-breaking, book about love, cruelty, and suffering of a small Korean family under the dictation of the Japanese. Ever since 1991, the astonishing, and unfortunately true words of Sook Nyul Choi have rung out in our society. Though this story may be about loss and heartbreak, it is easy to find comfort and kindness in the words.

Choy's compelling novel is based on events that happened during World War II as the Japanese invaded and controlled Korea. The main character, Sookan, lives with her Mother, younger brother, Aunt, Cousin and Grandfather who always reminds his grandchildren “Harmony will prevail, after darkness there will be light, yet we cannot have the light without the dark. Better days will come,” as Sookan's Father, Uncle, and brothers, fight in the war against the “White Devils.” In other words, the Americans. Anybody who reads this novel will feel sympathy for their family and all the others who dealt with such unjust treatment during this period and grow to love Sookan.

This novel is filled with heart-felt feelings of a young girl. Anyone who has lived through a time in which they have lost so much in so little time will be able to relate to and understand her feelings, although just about anyone can feel the grief and despair of Inchun and Sookan. Once Sookan claims “I wouldn't have lost so much if it weren't for the Japanese,”and this is a very true statement. You will share the hatred she feels towards the malevolent Captain Narita, who strips all the comforts of the Koreans during this time.

Most likely anyone who is reading this book in the US, will not be able to comprehend the unreasonable treatment of the Northern Koreans, and so this book will be a real wake up call that there are things like this that are happening now! We take too much for granted as this Book showed me with a bit of a smack in the face.

This novel will sweep you off your feet in the first paragraph with the gripping words of young Sookan that will touch your heart by the end of the novel. Your eyes will race down the page, and you will not be able to put the book down as you journey from Sookan's little cottage, to a rusty old train station, through a cornfield, and beyond the barbed wire fence that will lead Sookan and her family to freedom.

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Angela west said...
on Jul. 23 2017 at 7:50 pm
I hope sook nyul choi is not racist against Japanese and Russians ...the corrupt Japanese military also abuse they're own kind


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