Author Crystal Hana Kim In Conversation with Sybil Steinberg
Author Crystal Hana Kim sits down with Sybil Steinberg to talk about her debut novel If You Leave Me. This story of war, family and forbidden love is the saga of two lovers in Korea and the choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the Korean War. “Stunning … The novel is interested in something most others aren’t: the aftermath. It focuses both on what comes after war—as a new country struggles to develop its identity—and what follows Haemi’s fateful decision, as the ramifications of her choice ripple out to affect everyone around her.” — Washington Post “Combines vivid depictions of traditional Korean culture with an immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.”—People “A family struggles to balance tradition and change in Kim’s marvelous debut. . . . [this] lyrical intergenerational saga resonates deeply and will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Orphan Master’s Son.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Kim renders her multivoiced, multilayered ancestral and cultural history into stupendous testimony and indelible storytelling.”— Booklist (starred review) Sixteen years old and living in a refugee camp in 1951 Busan, South Korea, Lee Haemi is not interested in marrying but knows the plight of her situation might necessitate it. War has put everything on hold except starving, dying, and desperation. Her decision to find a husband—borne partially out of hope for finding help for her ailing little brother, Hyunki—ripples through the lives of those around her, especially the cousins who compete for her affections. If You Leave Me was named a best book of 2018 by The Washington Post, ALA Booklist, Literary Hub, Cosmopolitan, and more. It was also longlisted for the Center for Fiction Novel Prize. Crystal was a 2017 PEN America Dau Short Story Prize winner and has published in Elle Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Washington Post among others. She is a contributing editor at Apogee Journal.