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The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Kinship of Secrets

” . . . a gorgeous achievement.”
—Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko

Inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets is a riveting novel 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. Are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war?

Eugenia Kim Q&A
The Kinship of Secrets

” . . . a gorgeous achievement.”
—Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko

Inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets is a riveting novel about 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. Are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war?

Eugenia Kim Q&A

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Order in the UK via Bloomsbury

Hardback and ebook available. Bloomsbury is a leading independent publishing house established in 1986. It has companies in London, Oxford, New York, Sydney and Delhi.

"My family's stories seemed to carry an urgency meant to instill a Korean identity that was seeping from us with each new American word learned, each Korean word lost."

—Eugenia Kim

"My parents' stories seemed to carry an urgency meant to instill a Korean identity that was seeping from us with each new American word learned, each Korean word lost.”

– Eugenia Kim

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 ...

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 other 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.

Praise for The Kinship of Secrets

The Kinship of Secrets will be published on November 6, 2018. 

Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko and Free Food for Millionaires

Eugenia Kim’s The Kinship of Secrets is a beautiful allegory of loss and recovery. Through the parallel growth of two separated sisters, Kim bears witness to the fall and rise of nation and its resilient and generous people. The Kinship of Secrets is a gorgeous achievement.

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Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

A graceful, poignant, and moving portrayal of one family’s struggle to remain a family through decades of war, migration, and separation.

The Washington Post

Beautifully illuminate[s] Korea’s past in ways that inform our present . . . Kim infuses a coming-of-age story about being an outsider with the realities of the war, which forced many family separations, some of which still persist today. —Nicole Y. Chung 

Booklist STARRED REVIEW

…A timely and moving historical saga illuminating the repercussions experienced by families separated by war. … Kim’s heartfelt story…will greatly appeal to readers who enjoy the multiculturalnovels of Lisa See and Amy Tan, stories that enlighten as well as entertain.

Library Journal

Kim is a true storyteller, and her latest work is engaging throughout. Readers who enjoy family sagas by Lisa See and Jamie Ford will appreciate this one.

Yoojin Grace Wurtz, author of Everything Belongs to Us

The Korean War has been called “the forgotten war” in the West, but Kim’s second novel, a powerful narrative about the ways families relentlessly love and protect each other despite immense challenges, is a story that demands to be remembered, along with its history. The Kinship of Secrets is both a meditation on homesickness and a celebration of homecoming that made me appreciate the complicated bonds between sisters, between mothers and daughters, and the love for relatives that become surrogate parents. A beautiful novel, and a necessary, important story for our times.

Marie Myung-ok Lee, author of Somebody's Daughter

A gripping story of war and immigration, as well as a tender meditation on what it means to be of a family and of a country.

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Jung Yun, author of Shelter

What an extraordinary time to read this heartfelt novel about the bonds of family, set against the backdrop of the Korean War. Eugenia Kim is a masterful storyteller who makes her characters come to life as she spans decades, continents, and cultures.

Krys Lee, author of How I Became a North Korean

I felt as though I had stepped into a graceful story of two countries, South Korea and America, and family ties that survive the challenges of history.

Amazon.com Best Books of the Month: Literature & Fiction

Amazon pick for November

Real Simple, November 2018

The Short List: Five Books That Won’t Disappoint— …Eugenia Kim’s stunning novel based in part on her family history, follows Miran and Inja as they grow up in two very different countries. 

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NYLON Best November New Books

That this stunning novel is based on a true story makes its plot all the more heartrending… Kim tells this story through the perspectives of both sisters, and deftly reveals the toll that war wreaks on individual lives. And yet, for all the devastation, there still remains the possibility for hope and redemption, and the ability to transcend the boundaries imposed by geopolitical nightmares, and make connections anew with the people with whom you share a common history.

BookPage "Book of the Day" 11/26/18

A family separated by war and difficult choices maintains an unwavering bond in Eugenia Kim’s thoughtful second novel. …Drawn from her own family history, Kim’s story unfolds with the weight of lived experience. Through these relationships, The Kinship of Secrets explores the meaning of love and sacrifice and how often they are one and the same. 

Ms. Magazine, Fall 2018

Eugenia Kim’s second novel takes place in 20th-century Korea but shines a light on problems of migration and family that feel ever-more urgent here and now. THE KINSHIP OF SECRETS is an empathetic and moving look at a close family divided by conflict and change. …Most of the novel’s considerable appeal comes from the way Kim maps lines of identity, kin and culture: never oversimplifying, always taking her characters in unexpected directions.

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The Sunday Times London

Nothing is taken for granted in Eugenia Kim’s thoughtful, well-written The Kinship of Secrets (Bloomsbury), which recounts the parallel upbringings of two Korean sisters. …Poignant and richly evocative of both Korea and the immigrant experience, Kim’s insightful novel is based on her own background.

The Daily Mail

Themes of displacement, identity and the bonding power of family resonate throughout this ambitious and loosely autobiographical novel from Korean-American writer Eugenia Kim. …Kim tracks the lives of [two] sisters, each trapped between conflicting cultural identities, but Inja is the emotional focus, and the unhappy scenes when she arrives in America are the most arresting.

The National

This is an emotionally wrought and elegantly written novel about longing and belonging, and the trials of rebuilding a country and reforming a family. Kim’s saga sprawls over years and continents, tracks disparate lives, and traces seismic shocks and rifts in modern Korean history. Characters grow up and move with the times, not least Inja. We travel with her on her journey to adulthood and tighter family bonds, all the while remembering, with affection, that little girl who “worried about the thread between her parents and herself and how easily it frayed to nothing.”