Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: "Long for This World"

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

"Long for This World"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I didn’t find the book I was looking for in the library, so I picked up one I vaguely remembered reading a review of. Good review? Bad? Didn’t remember; maybe that’s why they say there’s no such thing as a bad review. Anyway, I took home “Long for This World,” Sonya Chung’s first novel, and I’m glad I did.

It is a story of a Korean family, some members in Korea, some in America. What can I say? It’s about life. Tragedy intersects with daily routine and occasional joys. Beloved people finish their lives, just as they do off the page. And, piece by piece the days and years build, families continue.

A quote: “A slight shift in one direction or another and she will slide off the surface of her life. Eow easily this happens to a person. How little it takes to unhinge what once seemed securely locked.”

This is a slim book but so filled with nuanced details of thoughts and actions and characters that it keeps you in its world past the last page. A wonderful bonus is the overlay of Korean culture. After I read it--partly in tribute and partly under the spell of the women in the kitchen chopping, chopping--I went out for lunch at a Korean restaurant. (Koreana at the corner of Prospect and Broadway in Cambridge. I definitely plan to go back.)

There’s another book out with the same title, a non-fiction book about longevity. But that’s a different book. This one, the novel, doesn’t tell you about living longer. Just about living.

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Anonymous Sonya said...

Hi Ellen - I was looking through my email files for my reply note to you; and when I couldn't find it, I was struck with the fear that I never replied! I do remember replying, so I hope it's just an email snafoo. At any rate, a heartfelt thanks for your lovely review here. All my best, Sonya Chung

January 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Ellen Steinbaum said...

You're very welcome. My thanks to you for giving such pleasure with your writing.

January 7, 2011 at 10:21 AM  

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