Comfort Woman

Comfort Woman

"On the fifth anniversary of my father's death, my mother confessed to his murder." Thus begins Nora Okja Keller's breathtaking first novel, which follows Beccah, a young Korean-American girl growing up in Hawaii, as she uncovers the secret of her mother's past. Completely ignorant of her mother Akiko's history - she was sold into prostitution in the Japanese "recreation camps" of World War II for her oldest sister's dowry - Beccah understands that her mother lives in a spirit world she cannot share, and that clearly marks her as "other." Narrated in two voices, Beccah's and Akiko's, Keller reveals the story of Akiko's extraordinary dislocation - the slavery of the camps, the death of her first child, her unhappy marriage to an American missionary - which Beccah understands only after her mother's death. In language that is both harsh and lyrical, Keller explores the universally complicated relationship between mother and daughter. She shows us both Akiko's way of survival, sustained by her remarkable strength and her love for her daughter, and Beccah's acceptance of her mother and her own place in a world her mother no longer physically inhabits.

Title:Comfort Woman
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780140263350
Format Type:

    Comfort Woman Reviews

  • Daniel Clausen

    A Book that is about Far More than just HistoryThe comfort women issueperhaps one of the most contentious and controversial subjects in Japanese-Korean relationsis the backdrop of this amazing novel. ...

  • Siao

    Breathtaking: I had to reread certain passages, just to fully process how AMAZING this book truly was. Would recommend this to anyone....

  • Melissa

    Fantastically written, though incredibly sad. She does a stellar job at making the reader feel the difference in culture between a Korean mother and an American daughter, and really articulates the po...

  • Alex

    Oh goooodddd. There's a passage from this book that just about killed me. Killed me. I mean, if the whole book does nothing for you, then you are pretty much made of stone....

  • A.J. Llewellyn

    A devastating book - beautiful and painful. Hard to read...hard to put down....

  • Aubrey

    To learn to be an American was to learn to waste. I picked this book up due to the phrase 'comfort woman' having been circulating around my head for some time. My lackluster rating compared to the to...

  • Jesse Campagna

    Fought reading this because of the painful and ugly nature of the story. I cannot be more glad that I did. Inspiring and I think this book made me a better person. High praise....

  • Linda

    A selection in my postal book group. I've never heard of this book prior to its showing up in my mailbox. It involves a Korean mother and her daughter who escape from occupied Korea to Hawaii. The mot...

  • Paul Ataua

    It was a pretty powerful novel about the ties between a mother and a daughter, but it was a difficult read with the narrative switching not only between mother and daughter but also between present an...

  • Diversireads

    content warning: rape, sexual violence, sexual slavery, child neglectThis was a surprisingly easy novel to read despite its incredibly weighty topic. I'm taking an Asian American lit class this semest...