The Stone Home

Morrow. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780063310971. $30. F
Following her acclaimed debut If You Leave Me, Kim, a “5 Under 35” honoree, sets this work in the early 1980s, following the stories of 15-year-old Eunja and her mother along with the that of teenaged Sangchul and his older brother, all of whom were abducted from the streets of South Korea. Each narrates the chilling events that unfold behind the secured walls of the Stone Home where they were placed to “rehabilitate,” segregated by gender and grouped by age. Interspersed between the narratives are chapters set in the year 2011, where Sangchul’s now-adult daughter Narae travels to Korea from the U.S. to find Eunja, at her father’s request. Through Eunja, Narae comes to learn more about her father and the circumstances leading to her birth.
VERDICT A work of historical fiction inspired by the human rights violations subjected upon individuals in South Korean forced labor camps that existed in the country through the late 1980s. Elements of violence and brutality limn a wrenching tale of mental, emotional, and physical endurance and determination for survival. Another well-crafted tale by Kim that is certain to give readers much to talk about.
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