Some of the most powerful novels of our age have been steeped in cultures other than our own. Amy Tan, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel García Márquez are among the most well-known authors whose books have distinctive ethnic settings. While the cultural flavor of these authors and the hundreds of other authors writing multicultural fiction, the thread that runs through them all is great storytelling. This week in LitChat we’ll talk about the ways that culture informs and directs storytelling.
Our guest host on Friday, August 21st, is Eugenia Kim, whose debut novel The Calligrapher’s Daughter, launches August 18th. Kim is the daughter of Korean immigrant parents who came to America shortly after the Pacific War. She has published short stories and essays in journals and anthologies, including Echoes Upon Echoes: New Korean American Writings, and is an MFA graduate of Bennington College. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.
“In The Calligrapher’s Daughter Eugenia Kim beautifully chronicles both the lost world of a traditional Korea and the lost childhood of her remarkable heroine. A coming-of-age story that resonates with larger significance, the novel movingly depicts the emotional cost of transformation and the love and sacrifice that make transformation possible. The Calligrapher’s Daughter is at once the story of a single life as well as the changing life of a nation and, while the details are fascinatingly exotic, the narrative rings with the hard won truths of profound human experience. It is a note-worthy debut from a writer with great heart and real empathy.”—Sheridan Hay, author of The Secret of Lost Things
Follow Eugenia Kim on Twitter at @Eugenia_Kim