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In the Absence of Sun A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family

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ISBN-10: 1400081386

ISBN-13: 9781400081387

Edition: N/A

Authors: Helie Lee

List price: $19.00
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A breathtaking true story of a rescue mission undertaken by a young woman and her family in one of the most repressive countries in the world. Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncle, lost decades ago when he was a child during the family’s daring escape from North Korea. As an adult, he was still living there under horrid conditions. When her grandmother began to ail, Helie became determined to reunite her with her eldest son, despite tremendous odds. Helie’s mission became even more urgent when she realized that her first book, the bestselling novel Still Life with Rice, about the family’s escape, might have angered the North Korean government and put her uncle in…    
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Book details

List price: $19.00
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 4/23/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 360
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.63" tall
Weight: 1.056

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Helie Lee grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives near her family. She lectures nationwide."From the Hardcover edition.

April 18,1997
We were on our way! Three generations of us-my father, Halmoni, and I-were going to China to redeem the past. Soon we'd be in Yanji, a city in China's Jilian Province. Siberia was to the north, Chinese Inner Mongolia to the west, and North Korea just to the south. Westerners rarely ventured to this remote northeastern region. It was way off the beaten track. We had to change planes twice, and at last we embarked on our third and final leg of the journey.
It was unbelievable. After forty-seven years of separation, Halmoni was on her way to reunite with her son, Yong Woon. Ever since we had discovered that he was still alive in North Korea, I had not thought that a reunion would be possible. No one did. North Korea had been one of the most impenetrable and hostile nations in the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since the reforms in Cuba and China. Hardly anyone went in, and rarely did they go out. We prayed for a miracle.
A month before our journey began, a Korean Chinese man named Choi Soon Man phoned my parents from China, collect. He had lifted the phone number off one of our letterheads, which Yong Woon Uncle had shown him. He offered to smuggle Yong Woon Uncle across the North Korea-China border and bring him to his home in Yanji to visit with Halmoni, then sneak him back before the authorities discovered he was missing. Apparently, this man had befriended Yong Woon Uncle several years previously during one of his business trips to North Korea. He knew intimate facts about Halmoni that only Yong Woon Uncle could have revealed to him.
My family was stunned, and for days we pondered his outrageous offer. Then we unanimously decided it was now or never. Halmoni couldn't wait any longer. Time was running out. Halmoni was a month shy of turning eighty-five (in Korean years she would be eighty-six, because a child was considered to be one at birth). Twice she had been hospitalized. Twice we had almost lost her. It was sheer force of will and her overwhelming desire to embrace her son one final time that made her rise from the hospital bed. And it was this same willpower and desire that was sustaining her during the long and exhausting journey from Los Angeles to Seoul to Beijing and finally to Yanji.