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Fox Girl

Publisher: , 2002
Link to online store *

From the US publisher’s website (Penguin Random House):

Nora Okja Keller, the acclaimed author of Comfort Woman, tells the shocking story of a group of young people abandoned after the Korean War. At the center of the tale are two teenage girls—Hyun Jin and Sookie, a teenage prostitute kept by an American soldier—who form a makeshift family with Lobetto, a lost boy who scrapes together a living running errands and pimping for neighborhood girls. Both horrifying and moving, Fox Girl at once reveals another layer of war’s human detritus and the fierce love between a mother and daughter.

From the UK publisher’s website (Marion Boyars):

‘America Town’ in post-war Korea is a bad place to end up: a garish shanty town of cheap bars and organized prostitution in which mothers fight with daughters over the dollars to be earned off the GIs stationed nearby.

For Sookie and her half sister, Hyun Jin, it’s even worse. While still schoolgirls they are introduced by their mother to the seductive pull of American consumer goods, supplied by their soldier lovers, but quickly discover the high cost in human degradation that goes with them, including child prostitution, rape and the brutal loss of self.

Nora Okja Keller’s powerful follow-up to the critically acclaimed Comfort Woman is a stark and poetic tale of love, survival and self-sacrifice from an exciting new literary talent.

‘The brutal candor and moving empathy that distinguish Keller’s first novel about Korea, Comfort Woman, is again evident in this stark, disturbing portrait of that country’s outcast children in the wake of American occupation…Forecast: Despite its harsh subject, Keller’s novel should do well on the basis of her strong writing and her courage…if Oprah takes a look, she could be hooked.’ Publishers Weekly * starred review

‘Hyun Jin is a strong, capable character, and the reader is continually appalled by her misjudgments, hoping somehow she will escape her “bad blood” origins and transform herself into the “fox girl” of Korean legend. A powerful though gently paced story.’ Kirkus

Nora Okja Keller was born in Seoul, Korea and now lives in Hawaii. Her debut novel Comfort Woman won a 1998 American Book Award and was long-listed for the UK’s Orange Prize.

Read a review in The Guardian here.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.