Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Prince Of Mournful Thoughts by Caroline Kim


These twelve stories by Caroline Kim explore the Korean culture and their immigrant experience through time.  The first story, Mr. Oh, is about a middle-aged man who has come to America.  He has a wife who he loves more than she loves him and two successful grown children.  He has a laundromat and he has unexplained pains and depression that he wants explanations for.  His life hasn't turned out as he imagined and he isn't sure what's next.

My favorite story was Magdelena.  A sixteen year old girl tells about going on a picnic with immigrant families on her birthday and then about going with her mother to check on an older woman from their church.  They find the woman near death, dehydrated and almost starving.  She is obviously on the brink of a psychotic breakdown and the girl's mother calls an ambulance and then accompanies the woman leaving her daughter behind to work out what all of this means.  

Readers who are interested in other cultures will enjoy these stories as will anthology readers.  Kim attempts to convey the entirety of the Korean experience, especially that of those who have been forced to move elsewhere in order to survive.  This book is recommended for anthology readers and those interested in the Asian culture.

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