The Island of Sea Women

The Island of Sea Women

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island. Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village's all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook's mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger. Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook's differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother's position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point. This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story--one of women's friendships and the larger forces that shape them--The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives"--
Publisher: New York :, Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.,, 2019.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781501154850
1501154850
Branch Call Number: FIC SEE
Characteristics: v, 374 pages ; 24 cm

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From Library Staff

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of S... Read More »


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t
Trixie_reads
Mar 29, 2021

I listened to this, and I'm glad I did. There were many unfamiliar words (unfamiliar to me, that is) and I wouldn't have known how to pronounce them if I'd read the book. It's a beautiful story.

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BeckyR21
Mar 28, 2021

Enjoyable read. A bit slow. Endearing characters and well plotted. There is quite a bit of history that I knew nothing about, so very enlightening. An excellent book club selection.

cfitzer1 Feb 24, 2021

recommended by Soyon

l
lindemuldercr
Feb 10, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

p
Pansy
Dec 26, 2020

An interesting historical account, not so interesting from a diving/ocean perspective, which I feel is the real weakness of the book. It's too bad it wasn't written by someone who actually dives....scuba/free/snorkel.. there is next to no detail on the actual diving experience. I've come away not having any idea of what the ocean was like other than what they were diving for - sea urchins, abalone, octopus. The best part is the pig latrines - didn't enjoy the interpersonal "saga" so much.

a
AAntosz
Oct 12, 2020

As a Korean born/ US raised child of the 70s, I know very little of my birthplace. This wonderful book seamlessly weaves history, culture and human experiences into a highly entertaining read set in a UNESCO world heritage site.
This is one of the best books I've read in 2020. Lisa See is truly a gifted storyteller.

m
mmyjer20
Sep 21, 2020

This was an interesting book. I listened to it which I was glad to have done, because there were many Korean words in it that I would have tripped on if I had read it. The story is very educational about Korean history, the sea women, and interwoven with a story of friendship and the difficulty of forgiveness.

JCLSarahZ Aug 11, 2020

A powerful family saga about growing up in a Matriarchal society on the remote Korean island of Jeju during the Japanese occupation. This is a well written piece of historical fiction about the amazing Sea Women of Korea. Captivating and heart-wrenching all at once.

v
valy3
Aug 07, 2020

a surprise matriarchal society -

EverythingTouches Jul 06, 2020

Full of strong women characters and describes the rich history of the area. Enjoyed the learning about the unique culture of the island.

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BeckyR21
Mar 21, 2021

If eighty-five years have taught her anything, it's that governments come and go and that whoever and whatever comes next will eventually become rotten.' -p.171

c
cknightkc
Jan 07, 2020

“The sea, it is said, is like a mother. The salt water, the pulse and surges of the current, the magnified beat of your heart, and the muffled sounds reverberating through the water together recall the womb.” - p. 22

c
cknightkc
Jan 07, 2020

“No one picks a friend for us; we come together by choice. We are not tied together through ceremony or the responsibility to create a son; we tie ourselves together through moments. The spark when we first meet. Laughter and tears shared. Secrets packed away to be treasured, hoarded, and protected. The wonder that someone can be so different from you and yet still understand your heart in a way no one else ever will.” - p. 36

c
cknightkc
Jan 07, 2020

“The sea is better than a mother. You can love your mother, and she still might leave you. You can love or hate the sea, but it will always be there. Forever. The sea has been the center of her life. It has nurtured her and stolen from her, but it has never left.” - p. 79

c
cknightkc
Jan 07, 2020

“They did this to me. They did that to me. A woman who thinks that way will never overcome her anger. You are not being punished for your anger. You're being punished by your anger.” - p. 350

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