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Beasts of a Little Land
Cover of Beasts of a Little Land
Beasts of a Little Land
A Novel
by Juhea Kim
Borrow Borrow

"A spectacular debut filled with great characters and heart." —Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

A Recommended Read from: USA Today * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * The Today Show * Real Simple * Good Morning America * Harper's Bazaar * Buzzfeed * Fortune * Vulture * Goodreads * Lit Hub * Book Riot * PopSugar * E! Online * Ms. Magazine * Chicago Review of Books * Bustle * The Oregonian * The Millions

An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter

In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.

In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver's courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim's unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation's. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

"A spectacular debut filled with great characters and heart." —Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

A Recommended Read from: USA Today * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * The Today Show * Real Simple * Good Morning America * Harper's Bazaar * Buzzfeed * Fortune * Vulture * Goodreads * Lit Hub * Book Riot * PopSugar * E! Online * Ms. Magazine * Chicago Review of Books * Bustle * The Oregonian * The Millions

An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter

In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.

In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver's courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim's unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation's. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

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About the Author-
  • Juhea Kim was born in Incheon, Korea, and moved to Portland, Oregon, at age nine. Her writing has been published in Granta, Guernica, Catapult, ZYZZYVA, and other outlets. She is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling, an online magazine at the intersection of sustainable lifestyle and ecological literature. She earned her BA in art and archaeology from Princeton University. Beasts of a Little Land, her debut novel, will be translated and published around the world. After a decade in New York City, Kim now lives with her two rescue cats in Portland, Oregon.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 4, 2021
    Kim’s dreamy, intense debut is both a sure-footed historical account of the Korean struggle for independence from Japan and the emotionally fraught story of several people whose lives are inextricably tied together. Among the sprawling cast first introduced in 1917 is a starving Korean soldier who meets a Japanese soldier while hunting a tiger, a young woman raped and impregnated by a loutish Japanese officer, and a Seoul street urchin who joins the Communist Party. Several years later, a rickshaw driver makes his way up the economic ladder, and many others factor in over the following decades. At the center of the novel is Jade, the eldest daughter of a poor rural family, who in 1918 is trained as a courtesan and later becomes a famous actor—though that’s not the end of her bumpy journey. As the lives of the characters touch, in small ways or large, romances bloom and fade, and fortunes rise and fall. While the members of the Japanese military often verge on being caricatures of villains, and some readers may balk at the novel’s coincidences, the prose is ravishing and Kim demonstrates remarkable control of a complicated narrative. Even those with little knowledge of Korean history will come away struck by the way individuals shape and are shaped by the political and cultural changes of the first half of the 20th century. The author’s off to a strong start. Agent: Jody Kahn, Brandt & Hochman Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Sue Jean Kim's careful, measured performance does not enhance this intricate debut novel spanning twentieth-century Korean history. Among the large cast of characters is Jade, who is sold into the life of a courtesan, and JungHo, a poor orphan living in Seoul. They meet as children, and their paths continue to cross at various points throughout the story. Despite Kim's best attempts to inject emotion and inflection into conversations and tense scenes, the story's frequently changing point of view creates challenging listening, especially with Kim narrating the majority of the audiobook. Raymond Lee makes a brief appearance, narrating one chapter from a rare first-person perspective, which offers a short respite. This sprawling story would have benefited from additional narrators. V.T.M. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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Juhea Kim
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