In the U.S., the Korean War has been called “the forgotten war” — a sideshow in geopolitics and American novels such as Richard Condon’s “The Manchurian Candidate” or, more recently, Philip Roth’s “Indignation.” The conflict, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, never had an official peace treaty and saw no territorial gains for either the North or South. Not surprisingly, “Who won the Korean War?” is a frequent search on the internet.
But the commercial success of Min Jin Lee’s novel “Pachinko” showed that Korean history can charm Western readers. In the wake of “Pachinko” — and already praised by Lee as “a gorgeous achievement” — comes Eugenia Kim’s novel “The Kinship of Secrets,” an Asian-American saga in the vein of Amy Tan or Pamela Rotner Sakamoto. It is a measuredly moving story of a girl losing and finding a home, the ways in which families grow into units, and immigrants into citizens.
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