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In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American…
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In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three… (edition 2002)

by Helie Lee

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Member:my23things
Title:In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family
Authors:Helie Lee
Info:Three Rivers Press (2002), Paperback, 360 pages
Collections:Your library
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In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family by Helie Lee

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Excellent book. I wish the politics between S. Korea and N. Korea would allow the writer to record and "publish" a story about her family members transition to life in S. Korea. ( )
  IPCBC | Feb 27, 2009 |
Lee and her father travel to China to find her rediscovered Uncle, in an attempt to reunite him with his mother (Lee's grandmother, the heroine of her first book). Lee's journey across the border and her own journey of identity and character, recovering from a failed love, unfold simultaneously. Her challenges of limitations and cultural prejudices are embodied in her relationship with the guide who will ultimately find and bring 9 members of the family out of North Korea. He professes his love for her, she sees him as human and lovable, and herself, then, as well. The harrowing exploits and the complicated arrangements of two groups of refugees escaping North Korea are sharply contrasted with Lee's detailed descriptions of designer goods and the Western focus on appearances. ( )
  sungene | Dec 12, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0609609343, Hardcover)

A breathtaking true story of a rescue mission undertaken by a young woman and her family in one of the most repressive countries in the world.

Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncle, lost decades ago when he was a child during the family’s daring escape from North Korea. As an adult, he was still living there under horrid conditions. When her grandmother began to ail, Helie became determined to reunite her with her eldest son, despite tremendous odds. Helie’s mission became even more urgent when she realized that her first book, the bestselling novel Still Life with Rice, about the family’s escape, might have angered the North Korean government and put her uncle in danger.

Pushing through rivers and forests, fighting the cold, bribing and manipulating border guards, gangsters, and secret service agents, Helie and her father finally achieve their goal. But there are many hurdles. Her uncle is forced to make a harrowing choice: leave his North Korean family behind or continue to live in oppression and starvation away from his beloved mother. And Helie has to face her deep, sometimes ambivalent, emotions about her identity in the family and as a Korean American woman. Unmarried and outspoken, she struggles in Korea, where women marry early and keep silent, and writes eloquently about the landscape there, both literal and cultural. She comes through a heartbreaking love affair only to face an intense and confusing relationship with the Guide—the man who, despite being crude and macho, ultimately helps to save her uncle and eventually his extended family through several daring acts of heroism.

In the Absence of Sun is a riveting adventure story and a powerful tale of family bonds and reunion.

“An eerie fear crawled through my flesh as I stood on the Chinese side of the Yalu River, gazing across the murky water into one of the most closed-off and isolated countries in the world. I couldn’t believe it. Even as my boots sank into the doughy mud, I had trouble coming to terms with the fact that I was actually standing there. . . . I was not prepared for the kind of despair and insane fear I felt that day. My wizened old uncle looked nothing like the sweet-faced teenager in the faded photograph that Halmoni kept pressed between the pages of her Bible. That day, at the Yalu River, staring helplessly into his terrorized face, I hadn’t fully realized what a dangerous thing I had done the year before. I had placed him and his family in danger. By including details of my uncle’s life in a book, I had alerted North Korea’s enigmatic leadership to the identity of my relatives in a nation where it was better to remain invisible.” —From In the Absence of Sun

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:54 -0400)

"Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncle, lost decades ago when he was a child during the family's daring escape from North Korea. As an adult, he was still living there under horrid conditions. When her grandmother began to ail, Helie became determined to reunite her with her eldest son, despite tremendous odds. Helie's mission became even more urgent when she realized that her first book, the bestselling novel Still Life with Rice, about the family's escape, might have angered the North Korean government and put her uncle in danger." "Pushing through rivers and forests, fighting the cold, bribing and manipulating border guards, gangsters, and secret service agents, Helie and her father finally achieve their goal. But there are many hurdles. Her uncle is forced to make a horrowing choice: leave his North Korean family behind or continue to live in oppression and starvation away from his beloved mother. And Helie has to face her deep, sometimes ambivalent, emotions about her identity in the family and as a Korean American woman. Unmarried and outspoken, she struggles in Korea, where women marry early and keep silent, and writes eloquently about the landscape there, both literal and cultural. She comes through a heartbreaking love affair only to face an intense and confusing relationship with the Guide - the man who, despite being crude and macho, ultimately helps to save her uncle and eventually his extended family through several daring acts of heroism."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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