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To Kill a Tiger: A Memoir of Korea
     

To Kill a Tiger: A Memoir of Korea

by Jid Lee
 

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An unforgettable memoir weaving the author's childhood with five generations of Korean history
Against the backdrop of modern Korea's violent and tumultuous history, To Kill A Tiger is a searing portrait of a woman and a society in the midst of violent change. Drawing on Korean legend and myth, as well as an Asian woman's unique perspective on the United States,

Overview

An unforgettable memoir weaving the author's childhood with five generations of Korean history
Against the backdrop of modern Korea's violent and tumultuous history, To Kill A Tiger is a searing portrait of a woman and a society in the midst of violent change. Drawing on Korean legend and myth, as well as an Asian woman's unique perspective on the United States, Lee weaves her compelling personal narrative with a collective and accessible history of modern Korea, from Japanese colonialism to war-era comfort women, from the genocide of the Korean War to the government persecution and silence of Cold War-era pogroms. The ritual of storytelling, which she shares with the women of her family, serves as a window into a five-generation family saga, and it is through storytelling that Lee comes to appreciate the sacrifices of her ancestors and her own now American place in her family and society.
In To Kill A Tiger Lee provides a revelatory look at war and modernization in her native country, a story of personal growth, and a tribute to the culture that formed her.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Memoir of growing up female in the male-dominated Korean culture of the 1960s and '70s. Lee's grim book borrows its title from a myth that one of her grandmothers-many greats removed-sacrificed herself to be eaten alive by a tiger in exchange for her descendents' prosperity. The author grew up feeling equally constrained, as if she had been swallowed, oppressed by gross gender inequality and verbal abuse. Lee (English/Middle Tennessee State Univ.; From the Promised Land to Home: Trajectories of Selfhood in Asian-American Women's Autobiography, 1998) structures the narrative chronologically, beginning with her memories of early life in Taegu, where her family struggled to make ends meet. Lee also had close brushes with violence, both in and outside of her home, and once witnessed a group of boys stoning an abandoned baby to death. Filled with secondhand tales about family members she's never met, the chapters fail to connect with each other. An unsuccessful revolutionary, her embittered, tyrannical father was obsessed with replacing the dynasty with a republic, spewing invective toward the United States and scathing disregard toward women. In at attempt to "surpass Mother and Grandmother in self-denial," Lee beginning starving herself from a young age. She regretted not having been born a boy and did poorly in school. In 1969 the beleaguered family moved to Seoul, and Lee cuts back and forth between rough-hewn descriptions of their domestic life, including her sister's joyless marriage to a man chosen by their father, and her views on the country's government, Christianity, socialist feminists and the educational system. In 1980, after graduating from college, she moved to New York,becoming a U.S. citizen in 1989. A bleak, disappointingly facile portrait.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590202661
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
09/03/2009
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jid Lee came to the United States as an inter-national student and became a citizen in 1989. She holds degrees in English from Korea University, SUNY Albany, and the University of Kansas. She is the author of the book From the Promised Land to Home and a tenured professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University.

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