cover image The Kinship of Secrets

The Kinship of Secrets

Eugenia Kim. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-328-98782-2

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. (Nov.)