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Sybil SteinbergKim's account acquires depth and immediacy as she draws vivid pictures of wartime poverty and hardship. Throughout the narrative, she gradually reveals many facets of Korean identity, especially the role of religion, where devout Christianity exists in harmony with Confucian belief and ritual. As Najin begins to question Christian doctrine about the sanctity of suffering and sacrifice, her conflicting emotions add dimension to her character. In quietly recording the arc of a woman's experience from idyllic childhood through harrowing adulthood, Kim mirrors the changing nation. The ending of the book is somewhat rushed, as Kim tries to encapsulate events in the immediate postwar period, but overall this is a satisfying excursion into empathetically rendered lives.
—The Washington Post