Frances Park, Ginger Park, . . Hyperion, $21.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6733-2

Aim a telescope at a constellation or a village street and each degree of magnification makes the field smaller and the detail greater. This fine, intimate novel about two young Koreans—one from the North, one from the South—growing up during the Japanese occupation, WWII and the Korean War, focuses on small fields. Sei-Young Shin knows poverty and hunger in a mountain village in the South: he is the son of a drunken wood-carver and a stoic mother. "Hunger was just a way of life, like waking up and hoping for a bowl of rice soup and soy sauce, perhaps with ferns, for the morning meal." Life is not as difficult for Heisook Pang, the daughter of a relatively prosperous Korean family living in the North. But for both Sei-Young and Heisook, suffering under Japanese political domination, their Korean identity is always central. The story is spun delicately, illuminating the day-to-day journey through time and distance and fortune that brings Heisook and Sei-Young together, and Sei-Young to the position of assistant to President Syngman Rhee, where he is tossed into the crucible of historical events. After the Korean War, they decide to leave their tragically divided country for America. Frances Park is author of When My Sister Was Cleopatra Moon. She and her sister, who coauthored My Freedom Trip: A Child's Escape from North Korea (winner of the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award), based this book on real events in their parents' lives. Their first fictional collaboration is an affecting work that resonates with their Korean heritage and accurately reflects the tumultuous history of their country over the past six decades. 5-city author tour. (June)