by Kyle Lucia Wu
As heard on NPR’S All Things Considered
“Spare, beautiful and richly layered, The Liberators is dazzling.”
—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
“A piercing, patient debut by one of our finest chroniclers of American han. You won’t know what hit you until the final, perfect image.”
—Ed Park, author of Same Bed Different Dreams
Daejeon, South Korea. 1980. At twenty-four, Insuk falls in love with her college classmate, Sungho, and with her father’s blessing, they marry. But then, as the military dictatorship, martial law, and nationwide protests bring the country precariously to the edge, Insuk’s father disappears.
In the wake of his disappearance, Insuk flees to California with Sungho, their son Henry, and Sungho’s overbearing mother. Adrift in a new country, Insuk grieves the loss of her past and divided homeland, only to find herself drawn into an illicit affair that sets into motion dramatic events that will echo for generations to come.
Spanning two continents and four generations, E. J. Koh’s debut novel exquisitely captures two Korean families forever changed by fateful decisions made in love and war. Extraordinarily beautiful and deeply moving, The Liberators is an elegantly wrought family saga of memory, trauma, and empathy, and a stunning testament to the consequences and fortunes of inheritance.