• Historical Fiction

Maija Rhee Devine

Maija Rhee Devine, a Korean-born writer and survivor of the Korean War, whose fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, North American Review, and The Kenyon Review, and in anthologies, holds a BA in English from Sogang University in Seoul and an MA in English from St. Louis University. Writing honors include an NEA grant, finalist in William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition and Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, and nominations for the Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Award.

The author is married to Michael J. Devine, the  ...See more >

Maija Rhee Devine welcomes queries regarding:
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"A complex, uniquely Korean love story that shouldn't be missed."

Kirkus Reviews


NEA Grant/Residency at Ragdale Foundation, Chicago, IL , 2001: THE VOICES OF HEAVEN

Short-listed for The O. Henry Awards: Prize Stories, 2000: THE VOICES OF HEAVEN

Feature, "My Brother and General MacArthur", 2013

Interview, Orange County Register, 4/8/2013 , 2013

Feature, American-Writer-Korean-War-Novel , 2013

"America & Me," produced by U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea, in observance of the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement of the Korean War, 2013

"Author discusses Korea tentions at book signing" Orange County Register, 2013

Feature in Korea Herald, 2013

Feature, "Korean Refugee Recounts . . . " Herald-Review, Decatur, IL, 2013

Feature, "The Voices of Heaven gets Kirkus review," Yonhap News, 8/13/2013 (in Korean), 2013

Postings, 4/4, 4/12, 4/25, 2013, Writing For Peace , 2013

Hometown Kansas City, MO

Favorite author William Faulkner. My Master's thesis was on Faulkner's "Light in August" and C.G. Jung's concept of the Self.

Favorite book Nine Parts of Desire, The Kite Runner, Cold Mountain, Emily Alone, The Lost Father, Running in the Family


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1624120039
Page count: 316pp

In Devine’s debut novel, war and traditional Confucianism tear apart an idyllic Korean family.

Eum-chun and her husband, Gui-yong, have been married for 15 years and are deeply in love. Although they adore their adopted daughter, Mi-Na, they fail to produce a son—a serious problem in their deeply traditional society. Gui-yong eventually gives in to his mother’s wishes and marries a second woman, Soo-yang, hoping she will deliver a boy to carry on the family name. Although Eum-chun tries to bear the situation bravely, she’s devastated, and cracks soon begin to form in the seemingly perfect family. The novel, set against the backdrop of the Korean War, follows four main characters as they navigate their new family and the chaos that ravages the land. Devine’s prose richly describes everyday life in 1950s Korea, and the war effectively parallels the battle raging in the family home—an insurmountable rift divides the family, just as it does their country. It’s a realistic sketch of a Korea that few Westerners have seen, depicting a patriarchal society that limits women’s choices, and each character faces a unique battle stemming from that unfortunate situation. Each of their stories is rich with emotion, and their problems give the novel depth and complexity. Most compelling are the struggles of Eum-chun, Mi-Na and Soo-yang as they fight to create their own identities; although they all fight similar battles, they cannot fight them together, as their society has driven wedges between them. Their resulting stories are often melancholy and achingly beautiful.

A complex, uniquely Korean love story that shouldn’t be missed.



Poems about China, Korea, and the U.S.

ISBN: 978-1-62229-326-1