"A gorgeous achievement.”—Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko
From the author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter comes the riveting story of two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart.
In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges they know will face them, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their infant daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.
But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?
Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.
The lives of two sisters growing up on opposite sides of the world one in war-torn Korea, the other in America come to life in this finely wrought novel from Kim (The Calligrapher's Daughter), inspired by her family's experiences. In 1948, Najin and Calvin Cho leave Korea for America in search of a better life, taking firstborn Miran with them, but leaving their infant daughter, Inja, behind with Najin's parents, brother, and sister-in-law. The Chos intend to return for Inja when she is older and better able to travel. But the Korean War breaks out, foiling their plans. The Chos send care packages to their family, but that doesn't assuage their anguish at being separated. Told from each sister's viewpoint, readers learn about their vastly different upbringings Inja's frightening experiences leaving her war-torn home to flee to a safer part of Korea while Marin grew up with the threat of war but in relative luxury. Yet this is also a family with deep secrets, between parents and children and between siblings, and the way these secrets impact the characters when they are finally united reflects Kim's sharp insight into relationships. This is a stirring novel about family and the sacrifices made to keep it whole.