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“The present is the revenge of the past,” is how E.J. Koh opens her memoir, “The Magical Language of Others,” which was published last month. “There is a Korean belief that you are born the parent of the one you hurt most.”

This is heavy stuff from a young woman writing about her own family, but then Koh has a lot to digest in her story of intergenerational trauma and growing up in America without parents. By the time the book ends on a note of forgiveness, her lyrical prose has taken the reader from the horrors of her own suicidal thoughts in adolescence to her grandmother surviving the Jeju Island massacre in South Korea.

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