All Woman and Springtime

Brandon Jones, Author
Brandon W. Jones. Algonquin, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61620-077-0
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Book - 352 pages - 978-0-297-86834-7
Paperback - 381 pages - 978-1-61620-276-7
Open Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-61620-264-4
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-61620-152-4
Hardcover - 603 pages - 978-1-4104-5192-7
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-1-78022-291-2
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In Jones’s dramatic debut novel, 17-year old North Korean orphan girls, Il-sun and Gyong-ho, work hard and go hungry, yet believe that they live well because of “the grace of the Dear Leader.” Headstrong and beautiful, Il-sun begins an affair with a handsome, connected man who promptly sells her and Gyong-ho into the South Korean sex industry, starting them on a harrowing journey into human trafficking and forced prostitution, where survival depends on acclimating oneself to being a commodity. Their servitude takes them from South Korea to a Seattle brothel owned by the Korean mafia. With two other prostitutes, they endure beatings, weeks in a shipping container with little water and food, and the pain and daily humiliation of their work, only made better by smoking “hiroppong,” or crystal meth. Eventually Il-sun disappears, and Gyong-ho escapes the brothel to find her. Though the daring move may not save Il-sun, it could lead to a happier life for Gyong-ho. Jones’s well-paced story gives a peek into a disturbing, shadowy world, where women are sold and traded, but the author never effectively renders the psyche of his female characters; they lack dimension, and their pain and privation never feels as real to the reader as it does to them. Agent: Wendy Weil, the Wendy Weil Agency. (May)
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