At the height of the military dictatorship in South Korea, Insuk and Sungho are arranged to be married. The couple soon moves to San Jose, California, with an infant and Sungho's overbearing mother-in-law. Adrift in a new country, Insuk grieves the loss of her past and her divided homeland, finding herself drawn into an illicit relationship that sets into motion a dramatic saga and echoes for generations to come.
Manages to convey sweeping changes and painful events in families and nations through condensed, often lyrical language. In just over 200 pages, The Liberators covers more than 30 years of a family’s life, not counting flashbacks, and explores how the past travels with us, and how we may find solace amid loss through relationships with others ... A knowledge of...history is helpful but not required before reading Koh’s novel, which is flush with careful details, small moments of tenderness and surprising connections.
In such an ambitious book, it is Koh’s writing—a symphony of vivid imagery and emotion—that binds all the disparate elements together into something that will burrow deep into readers’ hearts and minds. A brave exploration of the complexities of the human experience and the impossible task of making peace with the past, The Liberators is another resounding triumph for Koh that is sure to win her new fans, particularly those who prefer introspective novels in which the writing and ideas pack just as much punch as the plot.