“She sipped the last of the miyeok guk- anchovy flavored and lightly briny, bead…

“She sipped the last of the miyeok guk- anchovy flavored and lightly briny, beaded with sesame oil-from her spoon.” ❤️

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Thank you to bookclubbish parkrowbooks for novel by author njooyounkim ! This is a suspenseful and moving story that starts as a mystery with a mother dead in her LA Koreatown apartment and an adult daughter who finds her there and struggles to find answers to her mother’s death. I lived in a Koreatown apartment and could picture this exact scenario. The landlord, the neighbors, the neighborhood – I could imagine it all so clearly. And living in Koreatown in LA, I met friends who grew up in the Valley and those who grew up like Margot, the daughter, in Koreatown and this book really nailed the atmosphere and differences between the two. It’s a very quiet and sad book, one full of secrets, regrets and fear. But in this quiet story, you truly get a sense of living in the shadows, being undocumented and in a city where you can live for years just speaking your native Korean language and never having to learn English even though you are in America. A city where you are more likely to learn Spanish like Mina did and my parents did, than English so you can communicate with workers who work beside you and for you. This reveals so much about life in Koreatown in the 80s but it also reveals so much about a mother and daughter with language as a barrier in communication. To not be able to express yourself fully to someone as intimate as a parent or child feels unbelievable to many but it’s a reality for many of us who learned to speak English so well that we lost the ability to speak in our native tongue past an elementary level. There’s a lot of heartbreak and heartache in that experience. The dual narrative was a perfect juxtoposition of not just time, but of life experiences between the two women. A powerful debut! I really think readers who have enjoyed Celeste Ng may really like this book as well, give this a try!

17 thoughts on ““She sipped the last of the miyeok guk- anchovy flavored and lightly briny, bead…”

  1. All I see are the pancakes in the background. I do like the review, and how it appears to be a good portrayal of Koreatown

  2. I loved this one. Such a moving story about mothers and daughters and how little they really know about each other.

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