Monday, December 22, 2014

Reading the Alphabet, part Y

There are a lot more Y authors to choose from than Z:
Yarbro        Yamamoto        Yellin       Yip       Young        Yttrup

The one that caught my eye?  Yoon, Paul

Snow Hunters is the quiet story of Yohan, a North Korean soldier who defects to Brazil rather than return home to North Korea after the war. Can you imagine? Brazil is so different from Korea. Without knowing the language or understanding the culture, Yohan becomes an apprentice to a Japanese tailor and slowly makes a new life for himself in this strange new country. 
"In the harbor, crates hung suspended in the air. Birds circled them. The sea was clear. It moved toward him and faded and (Yohan) felt the time that had passed and his time here. He thought that he had made the best of it all, that he had worked and made a living, and he felt the contentment of that. He thought of what the years would bring, what sort of life was left in him. ... (And) he wondered what choice there was in what was remembered; and what was forgotten."
This beautifully written book is a story of hope, second chances, and overcoming past sorrows. I loved the glimpses of Yohan's experiences as a soldier and prisoner of war in Korea set alongside his current experiences in Brazil and the kind people he meets and befriends. This isn't a long novel, only 196 pages, but each sentence is thoughtfully crafted, each word carefully chosen. I savored every page. And to think, if I hadn't been browsing the Y shelf at the library I never would have known it existed. Here's to the letter Y!

Happy Reading!

Next up: Young, Sara (My Enemy's Cradle)


  1. I like the sound of this one. I've been a fan of Kdrama for a couple of years and my interest in both North and South Korea has been greater. In fact, my brother -in-law is in South Korea, teaching at a university along with fellow professors from the University of Utah. Thanks for the heads up on Snow Hunters!

    1. It's one of those small, thoughtful books that ends up making a big impression. I really liked it.

  2. Sounds like a very intriguing book... I also wanted to check in with you and wish you a very happy Christmas. I hope you have a super day and I’m looking forward to seeing you and your book titles in 2015!