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Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-Yong

Princess Bari

by Hwang Sok-Yong

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231656,311 (4)1



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Princess Bari is a remarkable coming of age novel that speaks of hardship, courage and determination.
Hwang Sok-Yong writes with poignancy and humour as we follow Bari’s life narrated by Bari in a rational and undramatised way.
A reworking of the Korean mythological story of Princess Bari, an ancestral shaman and the seventh daughter of King Ogu, making it relevant to the 21st century.

Sok-Yong writes of impoverished North Korea and Bari’s remarkable survival in the forests of china, her horrific journey aboard a people smuggler boat to London, the lives of illegal immigrants and women forced into prostitution. Bari comes across many people good and bad and the story speaks of prejudice but doesn’t preach.

Bari at times accepts her life with wisdom beyond her young years.

” I realise that life means waiting, enduring the passage of time. Nothing ever quite meets our expectations, yet as long as we are alive, time flows on, and everything eventually comes to pass.”

Bari’s story is depressing at times however Bari faces what life throws at her with courage and hope. A sobering tale I would recommend to all.

With my thanks to First Reads and Scribe publications for my copy to read and review. ( )
  Ronnie293 | Jan 15, 2016 |
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"Princess Bari tells the story of a young girl, frail and brave, who escapes from famine and death in North Korea in the 1990s. Seeking refuge in China before crossing oceans in the hold of a cargo ship, she disembarks in London, with its strange mix of different cultures, religions, and languages. In this foreign city, Bari becomes a masseuse, but she doesn't just heal the body, she also comforts souls, having learnt from her beloved grandmother to read the pain and nightmares of others. Alone and in a strange land, Bari will have to fight, through pain and deepening sadness, to find love and the will to stay alive. With Princess Bari, Hwang Sok-Yong entwines an old Korean myth-- of an abandoned princess travelling to the ends of the earth to find the elixir of life, which will bring peace to the souls of the dead--with the ethereal and haunting backdrop of the modern world."-- Provided by publisher.… (more)

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