White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht – #BookPreview #KoreanLit #HistoricalFiction

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White Chrysanthemum Unveiled: A Captivating Journey through History

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht is a gripping historical novel that takes readers on an emotional journey through the lives of two Korean sisters during World War II. This book review will delve into the captivating story, the author’s writing style, and the powerful themes explored within the pages of White Chrysanthemum. White Chrysanthemum is the latest book about Korea that delves into its darker history.

While Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko deals with the Korean Zainichi in Japan, White Chrysanthemum deals with the Korean ‘comfort women’ issue.

The Story of White Chrysanthemum

In this section, we will explore the plot and storyline of White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht.

From the very beginning, the author weaves a compelling tale that immerses readers in the lives of Hana and Emi, two sisters living in a small village on the Korean island of Jeju.

As the sisters face the brutalities of the Japanese occupation, their bond becomes a source of strength and resilience.

The Bond between Hana and Emi

The relationship between Hana and Emi forms the heart of the story.

Despite the harsh circumstances they endure, their love for each other shines through.

Hana, the older sister, acts as a protector and guide for Emi, creating a deep connection that carries them through the darkest moments of their lives.

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The Impact of World War II

White Chrysanthemum takes place against the backdrop of World War II, with the Japanese occupation of Korea serving as a central theme.

Mary Lynn Bracht skillfully portrays the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers, highlighting the resilience and courage of the Korean people in the face of oppression.

Themes of Love, Sacrifice, and Resilience in the White Chrysanthemum

Throughout the novel, the themes of love, sacrifice, and resilience resonate strongly.

Bracht explores the lengths people will go to protect those they care about and the strength they find within themselves during times of adversity.

The story of Hana and Emi serves as a poignant reminder of the power of love and the indomitable spirit of the human heart.

Mary Lynn Bracht’s Writing Style

In this section, we will delve into Mary Lynn Bracht’s writing style, examining her use of language, imagery, and narrative techniques in White Chrysanthemum.

Evocative Language and Descriptive Imagery

Bracht’s prose is rich in evocative language and vivid descriptions.

Through her words, readers can visualize the landscapes of Jeju, feel the anguish of the characters, and immerse themselves fully in the story.

The author’s attention to detail creates a sensory experience that adds depth and authenticity to the narrative.

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Powerful and Engaging Narrative

The narrative of White Chrysanthemum is both powerful and engaging.

Bracht expertly weaves together past and present, alternating between Hana’s story during World War II and the quest of Emi’s granddaughter to uncover the truth decades later.

This dual timeline adds layers of complexity to the plot, keeping readers captivated until the final page.

Tackling Difficult Themes with Sensitivity

Bracht tackles difficult themes such as war, trauma, and loss with great sensitivity.

She portrays the emotional struggles of her characters in a realistic and heartfelt manner, inviting readers to empathize with their experiences.

Through her storytelling, she sheds light on a lesser-known chapter of history while honoring the resilience of those who lived through it.

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My Thoughts on White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Brachet’s novel runs on two complementary narrative tracks.

The first narrative is narrated by Hana – who is taken by a Japanese soldier and sold in sexual slavery.

The second narrative follows Emi – who is looking for her sister after the end of World War II.

The story is about Japanese soldiers’ forced separation of two sisters during the Second World War. Hana describes the war years, while Emi’s narrative is set at a later date with the elderly Emi remembering the past and attempting to find her sister.

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The story tries to show the heartbreaking effects of not only the sexual slavery of young girls by the Japanese military but also the separation and division of a family by a global conflict.

Despite the Korean ‘comfort women’ issue being still strongly protested by Koreans within Korea, Mary Lynn Brocht’s “White Chrysanthemum” helps bring forward the issue to a wider global audience. It also helps the general public to understand the issue from the perspective and thoughts of the two Korean girls within the novel.

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The book “White Chrysanthemum” has been highly anticipated by many major newspapers such as the Guardian and already has thousands of good ratings on the Good Reads website.

Check out The Guardian’s 2018 review of Mary Lynn Bracht’s “White Chrysanthemum” here.

Have you already bought or read Mary Lynn Bracht’s “White Chrysanthemum”?

Tell us what you thought about the book by writing a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the main focus of White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht?

The main focus of White Chrysanthemum is the story of two Korean sisters, Hana and Emi, during World War II and the Japanese occupation of Korea.

Q: How does Mary Lynn Bracht portray the bond between Hana and Emi?

Mary Lynn Bracht portrays the bond between Hana and Emi as a source of strength and resilience, highlighting their unwavering love for each other.

Q: What are some of the central themes explored in White Chrysanthemum?

Some of the central themes explored in White Chrysanthemum include love, sacrifice, resilience, and the impact of war.

Q: Does White Chrysanthemum address the historical context of the Japanese occupation of Korea?

Yes, White Chrysanthemum provides a vivid portrayal of the Japanese occupation of Korea during World War II, shedding light on the atrocities committed during that time.

Q: How does Mary Lynn Bracht’s writing style contribute to the overall reading experience?

Mary Lynn Bracht’s evocative language, descriptive imagery, and powerful narrative techniques enhance the reading experience, immersing readers in the world of White Chrysanthemum.

Q: Is White Chrysanthemum a standalone novel or part of a series?

White Chrysanthemum is a standalone novel, offering a complete and satisfying story within its pages.

Q: What are zainichi Korean?

Zainichi Koreans are Koreans who are born and reside in Japan, but are heavily discriminated against due to their Korean ethnicity. There are at least 855,000 Zainichi Koreans residing in Japan today, and they trace their beginnings to the time when Imperial Japan ruled over Korea (1910 – 1945).

Q: What is the Korean comfort woman issue?

The Korean ‘comfort women’ issue dates back to the Second World War when Imperial Japan had colonised the Korean peninsula. ‘Comfort women’ were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese army during World War Two.

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Conclusion

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht is a remarkable and thought-provoking novel that transports readers to a tumultuous period in history.

Through the compelling story of Hana and Emi, Bracht explores themes of love, sacrifice, and resilience with great sensitivity and authenticity.

The power of her writing, combined with the vivid imagery and richly developed characters, makes White Chrysanthemum a must-read for fans of historical fiction.

Happy Reading!
A.J. McMahon
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(P.S. Got any other books you want me to review? Then…)

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GoodReads: A.J. McMahon

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is such a lovely book about Jejudo and the people who live there. I’ve lived in Jejudo for around 2 months at the start of spring and I’ve got to say it’s one of the most lovely places to go visit!!

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