Folklorn

by Hur, Angela Mi Young,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 7 copies
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Summary
A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.



Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she's put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she's run from all her life. But it isn't long before her childhood imaginary friend--an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow--comes to claim her at last.



Years ago, Elsa's now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.



When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother's dark stories: of women's desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.



From Sparks Fellow, Tin House alumna, and Harvard graduate Angela Mi Young Hur, Folklorn is a wondrous and necessary exploration of the myths we inherit and those we fashion for ourselves.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blurring the lines between sci-fi and fantasy, Hur's sophomore novel (after The Queens of K-Town) offers a complex meditation on intergenerational trauma. While working at the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station, Korean-American physicist Elsa Park suffers sudden tinnitus and sees her imaginary friend from childhood. This sparks memories of the time Elsa's mother gave her a now lost collection of four Korean folktales and warned her that all the women in their family are doomed to live out their plots. To understand what's happening to her, Elsa consults Oskar Gantelius, a Swedish Korean adoptee and linguistics professor who specializes in Korean folktales and also serves as Elsa's love interest, though their relationship is given little development. But before the pair can make sense of Elsa's episodes, her mother dies, driving Elsa to find the folktales and figure out how to apply them to her own life. The honest look at prickly Elsa's internalized racism is ambitious but often brutal in its unflinching execution, and the third act twist relies on an outdated take on mental illness. Despite the unconvincing romance between Oskar and Elsa, their conversations on minority life in majority white spaces are painfully accurate. This thought-provoking work will appeal to SFF fans who like their talk of particle physics side by side with fox spirits and fairy tales. Agent: Sarah Bedingfield, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Apr.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Korean American women -- Fiction.
Women scientists -- Fiction.
Imaginary companions -- Fiction.
Mental illness -- Fiction.
Blessing and cursing -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
Korea -- Folklore -- Fiction.
Fantasy fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Publisher New York :2021
Edition First US edition
Language English
Description 408 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781645660163
1645660168
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