The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir (Compact Disc)

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
By E. J. Koh (Read by)
$24.95
Backordered at our distributor but we can check availability from the publisher.

Staff Reviews


How lovely and smart this book is! Using letters from her Korean mother as a starting point, E. J. Koh tells the story of her coming of age an unusual situation in which she spends her teen years living with an older brother while her father works a lucrative job in Seoul. The letters from her mother, who while living in Korea is once again reunited with her family, reveal the anguish and guilt she experiences while leaving behind her daughter. Thoughts on language and translation and family history and the difficulty of belonging, as well as the poignancy of the letters written in Korean and translated by Koh, make this a profoundly moving and inventively written masterpiece! I loved this. Readers of memoir and crosscultural studies will enjoy this as well as poets Koh is a poet whose elegant prose shines.

— Mary

How lovely and smart this book is! Using letters from her Korean mother as a starting point, E. J. Koh tells the story of her coming of age an unusual situation in which she spends her teen years living with an older brother while her father works a lucrative job in Seoul. The letters from her mother, who while living in Korea is once again reunited with her family, reveal the anguish and guilt she experiences while leaving behind her daughter. Thoughts on language and translation and family history and the difficulty of belonging, as well as the poignancy of the letters written in Korean and translated by Koh, make this a profoundly moving and inventively written masterpiece! I loved this. Readers of memoir and crosscultural studies will enjoy this as well as poets Koh is a poet whose elegant prose shines.

— Mary

Great Reads


“A beautifully written memoir of history, culture, past, and present — this might be one of the best books I’ve read all year and a close second to Pachinko, one of my all-time favorites. The letters from a mother read from her daughter’s perspective really give you a sense of the complexity of family relationships, and how certain events mold the consequences of what’s to come. Just beautiful!”
— Desirae Wilkerson, Paper Boat Booksellers, Seattle, WA

Description


A tale of deep bonds to family, place, language―of hard-won selfhood told by a singular, incandescent voice.

After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji's parents return to Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in the family's new California home. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself in a world made strange in her mother's absence. Her mother writes letters over the years seeking forgiveness and love―letters Eun Ji cannot understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.

The letters lay bare the impact of her mother's departure, as Eun Ji gets to know the woman who raised her and left her behind. Eun Ji is a student, a traveler, a dancer, a poet, and a daughter coming to terms not only with her parents' prolonged absence, but her family's history: her grandmother's Jun's years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre. Where, Koh asks, do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words―in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language―to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love?

The Magical Language of Others is a fearless and poetic mind grappling with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma―conjuring an epic saga and love story between mothers and daughters spanning four generations.



Product Details
ISBN: 9781094079516
ISBN-10: 1094079510
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: April 6th, 2020
Language: English

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