Searching for her Korean birth mother leads twenty year old American Anna Carlson into a dark story of suffering, anguish and despair that the Japanese nation still has to properly apologize for.
This novel is a further example of women caught up into war and used and abused by those who think of themselves as more entitled and more powerful. An age old story.
Andrews has woven a wonderful heart wrenching story, without apology, and without false emotions.
What unfolds is the life of a young Korean girl, Jae-hee who is terribly and horribly brutalized during the Japanese occupation of Korea; and who is somehow able to emotionally stay strong, despite the dogs of despair nipping at her heals.
This is not gushy, not over the top, simply a telling of the journey of one young woman who is used as a sex slave 'comfort woman' by the Japanese. Jae-hee moves to North Korea in the hope of change and a better world. That was not the holy grail it was supposed to be. She then barely escapes with her life to South Korea to struggle as best she may in the aftermath of the Korean War, contending with the shaming prejudices rampant against her and her comfort sister sufferers.
Threaded throughout is the mystery of the comb with the two-headed dragon--a comb that Anna is confronted about by North Koreans.
A worthy and revealing read.
A NetGalley ARC