ECHOES OF THE WHITE GIRAFFE by Sook Nyul Choi

ECHOES OF THE WHITE GIRAFFE

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a sequel to the autobiographical Year of Impossible Goodbyes (1991, ALA Notable), Sookan, now 15, is again a refugee. After 1945, the family was reunited in Seoul and established a comfortable home. But as the story opens, Sookan is in coastal Posan, studying at a refugee school. Separated from Father and her older brothers--whose fate they won't know for two years--by the bombing of Seoul, Sookan and her mother and youngest brother are living high on a mountain where she's awakened each morning by a poet shouting on a nearby peak. The earlier book hinged on political events and the cruelties and injustices of war; more quietly, this one examines war's sorrows and the courage and compromises of those growing up in its shadow. Sookan comforts an orphaned friend; mourns the Shouting Poet, though they've never met; and, despite her shyness, defies tradition to rendezvous with a male friend. Though each plans to enter holy orders, their love for poetry and music draws them into a poignant, chaste accord that reveals a great deal about the culture and their own character. Their parting, as Sookan heads for college in the US, leaves much unspoken, and is just one of the many separations and losses composing this book. Except for Sookan, the characters are less fully realized than before; instead, wonderfully telling scenes evoke the time, the place, and--more subtly--the deep- running emotions that these people, bound by custom and besieged by troubles, were so rarely free to acknowledge. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-64721-5
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




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