Paperback ß Clay Walls PDF/EPUB ¼

A new contribution to American 'literary ethnography ' this fictionalized account is a Korean American complement to Alex Haley's best seller Christian Science MonitorAn immigrant novel of quiet power and sensitivity the story of Koreans fighting their way into American society in the years following WWI Kirkus New American Writing Award


10 thoughts on “Clay Walls

  1. says:

    I had a special interest in this book since the writer was the wife of my mother's cousin I learned a lot about my mother's side of the family The names of the characters were fictional tho I could tell from the characters who the real people wereSadly most of the characters are no longer alive The author as well passed away years ago My mother has an original book wan inscription from the author The book is sentimental Some may not think the writing or story is up to standard its unimportant but important to the familyTo me the storyline is equivalent to Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club and it makes me smile since Clay Walls came out way before Joy Luck


  2. says:

    Having done some reading on Korean related topics and fiction in the last year or two I hoped this well regarded novel would be a worthwhile read Unfortunately it was only marginally soIts strenghts included the strong characterization of the protagonist Haesu and to a lesser degree her husband Chun The author Kim also wove an effective albeit limited portrayal of the country's colonial history under the repressive and violent domination of the Japanese in the early years of the 20th century Aspects of the culture's social and family relations as well as its dress and food were depicted in an informative way as wellThe book's weaknesses included the fact that a few times the narrative skipped far ahead in time with only the briefest of explanations This was than just jarring It was frustrating that the author failed to develop some of the themes andor the characterizations as thoroughly as she could have by making the plot comprehensive in places The struggles experienced by Haesu's children as second generation of immigrant parents were presented in a rather superficial way They were largely two dimensional stereotypes rather than real young people trying to find a balance between their heritage and the mainstream American culture in which they were living For example Kim noted many times how the youth compared themselves to white Anglo Hollywood movie stars or how they liked the popular music of the times Unfortunately she made no observations about what this did to the self image or the self esteem of these young people As noted above the author included elements of Korean culture in the story But I ended up feeling that much of this could have been done Likewise with her depiction of the Japanese occupation of Korea There was so much she could have written about that IMHO it seemed as if the novel suffered from a lack of focus Either it could have been about Korea during the Japanese occupation or about Korean immigrants in the USA confronting racism and other challenges In trying to portray both of these the book lacked as much depth and substance as I would have likedOverall the disappointments were at least equal to if not than those things which I found redeeming in this novel For these reasons the best I can give it is a 25 star rating


  3. says:

    I picked this book up off my shelf last week while I was sickI wanted some fiction in English and I actually have sadly little of that in actual physical form sitting around This was a book from Korean civ in college Rereading it I found it interesting and a good way to spend an afternoon but it it so cliched and triteI can't believe this was part of Korean civ at the U of C Actually maybe I can It's not a bad book at all and it does teach something about Korean American history and WW2 era KoreanJapaneseAmerican relationships and if you didn't know much about KoreanJapanese relationships in this period it would be very enlightening I guess it's just hard to look back now and realize that maybe there was a period in my life a period in my so recent life that this book would have been at all eye opening for me But then even now if this book was about Iraqi Americans or any other ethnic group it would probably be astounding and very interesting to meAnd with that I'm reminded of a friend's recent review of The Kite Runner Perhaps this is the Korean version of the Kite Runner set 30 or so years previously If you don't know a lot about the cultural history of said group it's astounding and wonderful and extremely interesting and eye opening and teaches you so much about the culture and history through a personal story that is touching and therefore memorable But if you do know about it already it's cliched and two dimensional and overly simplified and boring This book really isn't boring but it feels like it's written for high schoolers or something


  4. says:

    There are some things that were excellent about this book but its portrayal of African Americans was shockingly unforgivably racist For a book that addressed issues of racism in early 20th century America it sure seemed to be doing its part to keep racism alive That said the voice is strong and unique


  5. says:

    This book is 5 stars to me because the author is my great aunt my grandfather's sister The book is loosely based on my great grandparent's life in America and it is an important Korean American history as well It does portray the pioneers of the Korean American community well along with all the struggles