Set in Michigan and South Korea, Forgotten Country is the story of a daughter who begins to understand that family ties are more than mere obligation. Janie left Korea as a young girl with her parents and baby sister, when her father became a target of political persecution. She and her sister Hannah became totally Americanized, but her parents still kept ties to their mother country. Hannah becomes estranged from the family, leaving Janie to be the remaining, dutiful daughter. When the girls’ father becomes ill, necessitating a move back to Korea, both girls embark upon a journey of discovery.
One thing I really loved about this book, was Chung’s ability to relate the immigrant experience and the conflicts that arise when you have one foot in America and another in a different country/culture. I enjoyed the Korean folklore and when the family arrives in South Korea, I enjoyed Chung’s descriptions of the area and it’s people. As a bonus to me, there is also an exploration of Korean history which I knew little about. And all this ties up neatly in a narrative that pulls you in and keeps you captivated.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012