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EJ Koh: The Magical Language of Others
January 8 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
E.J. Koh discusses her new memoir The Magical Language of Others.
Praise for The Magical Language of Others
“The Magical Language of Others is an exquisite, challenging, and stunning memoir. E. J. Koh intricately melds her personal story with a broader view of Korean history. Through these pages, you are asked to experience one family’s heartbreak, trauma, and complex love for each other. This memoir will pierce you.”–Crystal Hana Kim, If You Leave Me
“A coming-of-age story, a family story, and a meditation on language and translation, with an emotional range to match.”–Caitlin Horrocks, The Vexations
About The Magical Language of Others
After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji’s parents return to Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in the family’s new California home. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself in a world made strange in her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters over the years seeking forgiveness and love–letters Eun Ji cannot understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.
The letters lay bare the impact of her mother’s departure, as Eun Ji gets to know the woman who raised her and left her behind. Eun Ji is a student, a traveler, a dancer, a poet, and a daughter coming to terms not only with her parents’ prolonged absence, but her family’s history: her grandmother’s Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre. Where, Koh asks, do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words–in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language–to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love?
The Magical Language of Others is a fearless and poetic mind grappling with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma–conjuring an epic saga and love story between mothers and daughters spanning four generations.