Waxing Moon is an epic story set in feudal 19th century Korea, in the household of wealthy landowner Mr. O. Outside, there is political unrest as Western missionaries attempt to make inroads into the country. While the servants and wives within the O household compete for a greater degree of influence, Korea moves closer to the end of a dynasty and vast changes in the way of life for the privileged.
This story of family intrigue and political tension during the Joseon Dynasty is told with humor and warmth. The characters are driven by ambition yet tempered by love. Through the lives of the O family, the pains and passion of a country in turmoil are revealed.
"It is the interactions of the women against a vividly painted historical backdrop that engaged me from the first page." --Audrey Chin, When the Heart Bones Break "It is the interactions of the women against a vividly painted historical backdrop that engaged me from the first page." --Audrey Chin, When the Heart Bones Break
"H.S. Kim captures the power of this shift through the women of 19th-century Korea, as they endure life-altering events that expand in both scale and tragic momentum in concert with the lunar cycle. Set in the mid-1800s, the narrative overflows with relationships, often more competitive than amicable, both built and destroyed in the face of life and death. From Mrs. Wang, the wise and frank midwife, to the conniving Mistress Yee and to Nani, the young maid aspiring for a better life, Kim carefully crafts a community of characters seeking to master their respective universes as twilight falls on the Joseon Dynasty." --Jonathan Cha, KoreAM
H. S. Kim
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Waxing Moon is a story of birth, death and everything in between told with such compassion that you fall in love with all the characters, even the frustratingly hapless husband and his two villainous wives. The heroes are the midwife, Mrs. Wang, and the maid Nani, both of whom choose to serve the villagers. Their strength and wisdom earn them the respect that money and power couldn't bring to the wives. Told as a folktale of 19th century Korea, the language has an unadorned beauty that drew me along effortlessly. I read it straight through the day, then woke in the middle of the night needing to finish it. I'm waiting for the next book from HS Kim!
H.S. Kim's Waxing Moon is a tour de force. How often do you read a novel set in 19th century Korea, and feel that although the characters and social structures are entirely unfamiliar, they're also completely recognizable? I learned so much about Korean history from this book, but never felt lectured, just engrossed. The midwife, Mrs. Wang, is the most memorable character I've encountered in fiction in many years, funny, smart, and wily - she's so good, she's almost a liability because the reader misses her every time she's off stage! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story about an unfamiliar place and time.
I really enjoyed this book thoroughly and I became completely absorbed with it, so much so that I was disappointed when it ended. Anybody who loves diving into a another world and another time should not miss this novel.
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