Robinson vividly describes contrasts between cultures as she realistically details a quest inevitably complicated by the...



Luminously written, sensitively nuanced memoir by Idaho-based journalist Robinson about the rediscovery of her Korean family.

Adopted as a seven-year old by Americans, the author loved her new mother, but growing up in Utah, the only Asian in her school, she felt cut off from her roots. Mixing memories of her American childhood with accounts of her present activities, Robinson describes how, on a business trip to Seoul 20 years after she left, she decided to look for her birth family. She had a photograph of her mother and grandmother taken at the airport before she left, a few memories, and little else to guide her. At the orphanage that arranged her adoption, she learned that her father was still alive, though now in his 70s. They met briefly; he shared photos and memories and told her she was his favorite child. Pleased by his response, Robinson arranged to spend a year at Korea University with her husband. Her father was very protective of the couple, but his daughter’s feelings fluctuated as she learned more about him. He was a notorious womanizer; Kim Ji-yun (Robinson’s Korean name) was the result of an affair with her mother while he was married with young children; and he had more children with the woman he married after that affair. Robinson met an elder half-brother and -sister, offspring of his first marriage, and his first wife made the American feel at home though she disliked her ex-husband. Learning the truth about her mother was difficult; family members told different stories, so Robinson didn’t know whether she was dead or married and living in Chicago. Though she had hoped solving the mystery of her family would be easier, the author leaves comforted by the connections she’s made and accepting of her mother’s decision to have her adopted.

Robinson vividly describes contrasts between cultures as she realistically details a quest inevitably complicated by the contradictions and contrariness of human nature.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2002

ISBN: 0-425-18496-X

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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