PositiveThe Washington PostInspired by the true story of a late-19th-century court dancer, Shin’s novel explores themes of exoticism, assimilation and identity ... The novel delves into major historical events, including 1884’s Gapsin Coup and the Imo rebellion in 1882, while the power struggle between China and Japan for influence over Korea looms in the background. By placing Korean history beside a Western narrative, Shin highlights the disparity between Europe and the more isolated Asian nation. At its core, The Court Dancer examines what countries lose in identity in exchange for technological advancement.
Crystal Hana Kim
RaveThe Washington Post...[a] stunning debut ... Snippets of Korea’s complicated history following the war are artfully folded into the story ... The novel is interested in something most others aren’t: The aftermath.
RaveThe Washington PostThe collection centers on the hard, ugly parts about relationships ranging from familial to romantic. Fridlund pairs her writing with complex characters who evoke a sense of shock with the familiar.