Skip to content

This Burns My Heart, Samuel Park


For the longest time, if you had asked an average reader of fiction to name some novels that had Asian characters, you’d probably get a list of Amy Tan novels. Fortunately, in recent years, authors like Lisa See, Khaled Hosseini, and Jhumpa Lahiri have increased the Asian voice in fiction; and in this novel, Samuel Park presents a strong female character.

Soo-ja is the only daughter of her parents, a bright young woman who dreams of becoming the first female diplomat in Korea. However, her parents, a strict but loving father and a traditional mother, insist on her finding stability in marriage before she becomes too much older — at twenty-two, she is already looked upon as an old maid by many. However, Soo-ja marries unwisely, to a stubbornly handsome young man who turns out to have five siblings and a set of controlling, debt-ridden parents. They are manipulative and scheming at times, and Soo-ja begins to understand why her husband lied to her and convinced her to marry him. When Soo-ja has a daughter, her in-laws turn against her, using Hana to force her to stay with the family, and urging her to ask her parents for money.

I enjoyed the writing style, particularly the portrayal of the different characters, their personalities, and their actions, although I found myself growing frustrated with some of them as I read. Soo-Ja comes off as being foolish, irresponsible, and disrespectful at times, making the same mistakes over and over, but the description of her actions and their consequences are conveyed well. I didn’t like this one quite as much as another novel about Koreans that I recently read (Please Look After Mom), but it was definitely worth a read.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: