BookBrowse Reviews Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

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Forgotten Country

by Catherine Chung

Forgotten Country
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2012, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2013, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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A modern narrative interspersed with Korean parables about familial obligation and authentic identity

Chung's writing style reminds me of a fine painting where every brush stroke is laid down with purpose and control. Discipline is a word that comes to mind. Restraint is another. Nothing that is written is meant to be taken lightly. Every word has a job. Nothing extraneous is exposed. It is a style that suits the book's focus perfectly.

This is, after all, a novel about a family that communicates via stories, little parables whose meanings are not explicit but instead are couched inside the listener's mind. Maybe it's not the most efficient method of communicating. It's certainly not the most effective since it requires cooperation between the person relating the story and the one who is hearing it. And if the listener mishears or misinterprets the story's meaning, well, that is Chung's central theme. Because when Janie's grandmother tells her a story about how every generation of ...

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