The Voices of Heaven: Love, War, and Korea Today
Maija Rhee Devine
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Center for Korean Studies Conference Room
1881 East-West Road
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Novelist Maija Rhee Devine will discuss her recently published book, The Voices of Heaven, and its relevance to today's Korean society. The novel grew out of the author's experiences of growing up in Seoul during the Korean War. She was one of those children who walked on frozen ground, while Russian MIGs and American B-29s roared overhead. She carried a bundle on her head, while fleeing Seoul and praying for the South Korean and UN soldiers to save her.
The story line of the novel (published by Seoul Selection USA, Irvine, Calif.) begins in the late 1940s and follows the lives of Gui-yong and Eum-chun, who strike gold by finding a love as sweet as sticky rice when most brides and grooms were married sight unseen. But their love for each other and for their secretly adopted daughter is not enough as they must soon accept the unthinkable—a mistress moving in to bear Gui-yong a male child, considered a necessity in a Confucian-dominated society. Soon torn apart by the Korean War, they endure years of separation and terrors as each side of the divided nation seeks annihilation of the other. The story reveals the realities of both the old and new Korea. The Confucian values that rule these characters still shape the lives of people in modern high-tech Korea. The author will present thought-provoking images and statistics.
MAIJA RHEE DEVINE is a Korean-born writer whose fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, North American Review, and The Kenyon Review, and in various anthologies. She earned a B.A. degree in English at Sogang University in Seoul and an M.A. in English at St. Louis University. Writing honors include an NEA grant, finalist in William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, and nominations for Pushcart Prizes and O. Henry Awards.