Author(s): Lisa See
The new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village''s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook''s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility - following generations of women haenyeo - but also danger. The haenyeo free dive, holding their breath as they swim to the rocky sea bottom in pursuit of their quarry. Both will experience tragedy in the water, further deepening their bond.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook''s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is a magnificent epic set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, through World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother''s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that, after surviving hundreds of dives, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.
This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story--one of women''s friendships and the larger forces that shape them--The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.
''Lisa See excels at mining the intersection of family, friendship and history, and in her newest novel, she reaches new depths exploring the matrifocal haenyeo society in Korea, caught between tradition and modernization. This novel spans wars and generations, but at its heart is a beautifully rendered story of two women whose individual choices become inextricably tangled'' Jodi Picoult
''I was spellbound the moment I entered the vivid and little-known world of the diving women of Jeju. Set amid sweeping historical events, The Island of Sea Women is the extraordinary story of Young-sook and Mi-ja, of women''s daring, heartbreak, strength, and forgiveness. No one writes about female friendship, the dark and the light of it, with more insight and depth than Lisa See'' Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings
''I loved The Island of Sea Women from the very first page. Lisa See has created an enthralling, compelling portrait of a unique culture and a turbulent time in history, but what''s really remarkable about this novel is the characters--two women whose lifelong friendship is tested during impossibly difficult times. Compelling, heart-wrenching, and beautifully written, The Island of Sea Women will plunge you into a world and a story you''ve never read before and remind you how powerful women can and must be to survive'' Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone
Praise for The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane:
''A lush tale infused with clear-eyed compassion, this novel will inspire reflection, discussion and an overwhelming desire to drink rare Chinese tea''
The Washington Post
''A deeply emotional and satisfying read'' USA Today