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Waxing Moon [Kindle Edition]

H. S. Kim
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $6.49
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  • Length: 301 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Prime members can borrow this book and read it on their devices with Kindle Owners Lending Library.
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Kindle Edition $6.49  
Paperback $15.26  
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Book Description

Waxing Moon is an epic story set in feudal 19th century Korea, in the household of wealthy landowner Mr. O. Outside, there is political unrest as Western missionaries attempt to make inroads into the country. While the servants and wives within the O household compete for a greater degree of influence, Korea moves closer to the end of a dynasty and vast changes in the way of life for the privileged.

This story of family intrigue and political tension during the Joseon Dynasty is told with humor and warmth. The characters are driven by ambition yet tempered by love. Through the lives of the O family, the pains and passion of a country in turmoil are revealed.

"It is the interactions of the women against a vividly painted historical backdrop that engaged me from the first page."
--Audrey Chin, When the Heart Bones Break

"Set in the mid-1800s, the narrative overflows with relationships, often more competitive than amicable, both built and destroyed in the face of life and death. From Mrs. Wang, the wise and frank midwife, to the conniving Mistress Yee and to Nani, the young maid aspiring for a better life, Kim carefully crafts a community of characters seeking to master their respective universes as twilight falls on the Joseon Dynasty."
--Jonathan Cha, KoreAM

Editorial Reviews


"Kim handles interweaving plotlines with an easy, chatty skill; this book reads like a more modern version of The Tale of Genji, at once intimate and universal. Highly recommended." --The Historical Novel Society

"...a powerful and compelling novel of life in pre-modern Korean countryside." --Al Sandine, The Taming of the American Crowd

"H.S. Kim is a gifted storyteller with a disarming voice that makes Korean culture accessible. In her first historical novel Waxing Moon, she has woven a heart-wrenching story of human foibles, love and tragedy, and motherhood." --Andrew Pham, Catfish and Mandala

About the Author

At the age of 20, H.S. Kim moved to the US. After graduating from Teacher's College at Columbia University, she taught Creative Writing and English as a Second Language to a wide range of students, including teenagers in Harlem, prison inmates in upstate New York, businessmen in Austria, Laotian refugees in Oakland, and foreign scholars at various universities. A born storyteller, H.S. Kim began to write fiction after settling down in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two children. Waxing Moon is her first novel. Her second novel, currently under construction, will be a depiction of the 1970s in a divided Korea through the eyes of a child.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1724 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: WiDo Publishing (August 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Waxing Moon is a story of birth, death and everything in between told with such compassion that you fall in love with all the characters, even the frustratingly hapless husband and his two villainous wives. The heroes are the midwife, Mrs. Wang, and the maid Nani, both of whom choose to serve the villagers. Their strength and wisdom earn them the respect that money and power couldn't bring to the wives. Told as a folktale of 19th century Korea, the language has an unadorned beauty that drew me along effortlessly. I read it straight through the day, then woke in the middle of the night needing to finish it. I'm waiting for the next book from HS Kim!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly engrossing novel about an unfamiliar era October 7, 2013
H.S. Kim's Waxing Moon is a tour de force. How often do you read a novel set in 19th century Korea, and feel that although the characters and social structures are entirely unfamiliar, they're also completely recognizable? I learned so much about Korean history from this book, but never felt lectured, just engrossed. The midwife, Mrs. Wang, is the most memorable character I've encountered in fiction in many years, funny, smart, and wily - she's so good, she's almost a liability because the reader misses her every time she's off stage! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story about an unfamiliar place and time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! September 28, 2013
By Dodo
I really enjoyed this book thoroughly and I became completely absorbed with it, so much so that I was disappointed when it ended. Anybody who loves diving into a another world and another time should not miss this novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing! Loved the Drama! December 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having lived in Korea since 1990 and currently teaching an Asian history class at a business school in Daejeon, I was very interested in the subject matter and background of Ms. Kim's novel. In this wonderfully crafted story, Ms. Kim takes readers back in time to the Choseon Dynasty, one of Korea's most important historical periods. Filled with drama and intrigue, her novel is very hard to put down once you start reading. I look forward to her next novel about Korea.

Jeffrey Miller,
War Remains, A Korean War Novel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story June 27, 2014
By Lourdes
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found Waxing Moon by H.S. Kim to be a compelling story. From the very start, you felt as if you knew these characters. You rooted for the maid Nani as she found her place in her world, and for all the characters as they carve out an identity for themselves. I did find myself having to re-read a few passages to determine if the action was taking place in the past or the present, but overall it was a swift read. This was a lovely book--a great exploration of a new region of the world to me. I hope there's a sequel!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and refreshing story September 12, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's difficult these days to find books with a fresh voice, but H.S. Kim's Waxing Moon was exactly that. Through multiple points of view, she weaves a complex tale, maybe we could even call it the Korean equivalent of Downton Abbey, where each character is a mixed bag of fault and virtue. The fact that an elderly midwife emerges as the most vibrant and powerful character of all is fantastic. Ms. Kim is an excellent story-teller, and I can't wait to read more of her work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine and Timeless August 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The author takes us on an amazing journey through the unfamiliar
world of 19th century rural Korea. The characters are genuine and
timeless, and their interactions remind us that all life is a cycle.
HS Kim is a phenomenal story teller. This book has been a page
turner, and I can't wait until her second one appears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By D. Ross
This book depicts the microcosm of a household of women in a Korean small village in the 19th century; the head of the household is a man, of course, but he is not the emotional center of the story. We follow the lives of wives, daughters and servants as they plot, scheme and jockey for survival in a world where women have few options besides securing a well-to-do husband and bearing a son.
Their struggles are reminiscent of the struggles of European women of the same era, as depicted in Pride and Prejudice and Madame Bovary. We feel for them, root for them, and empathize with their failures. The most interesting character of Flying Arrow is Mrs Huang, the midwife, and the only woman in the book who lives by her own terms and has the respect of the entire village. she brings to mind the rare escape options women have in traditional societies: midwifery (or healing) and prostitution; it is then fitting that the other main character of the story escapes her destiny as a servant and becomes the successful prostitute who eventually marries her lover.
H. S. Kim has written an engrossing novel that finely weaves the intersecting lives of a large cast of characters on a backdrop of political and social changes in 19th century Korea. This is an extraordinary accomplishment. I especially recommend this book to anyone interested in the world-stories of women and in Korean culture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Waxing Moon by H.S. Kim
This is an interesting book, I love reading about Eastern culture. Korea, such a part of our own history, it's food and class distinctions takes you back to a world few Americans... Read more
Published 4 days ago by April Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very fast paced and interesting read.
Published 18 days ago by princeinaz
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright.
Not bad but not very enlightening either.
Published 22 days ago by Janette
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Loved the author's writing style and the great story line. The only minus is that I wish there was a sequel.
Published 2 months ago by Kat
5.0 out of 5 stars rewarding
A brilliant tale to bring the circle of life to view. Well written. The characters were charming and the result left me thinking back on the life lessons they all learned.
Published 3 months ago by Leanne
2.0 out of 5 stars but it definitely could have benefited enormously from better editing.
Unsure how to rate this novel set in Korea as the dialogue was awkward and forced at times and the characters rather unsympathetic, in fact, quite unlikable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by IdaB
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Look into Old Korea
The author skillfully takes us into a small village somewhere in Korea before that country's civil war. Read more
Published 4 months ago by evelyn mizak
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love the book, wish there was more to the ending
Published 5 months ago by Chee Vang
3.0 out of 5 stars Caste system and sexism in the past
Given the social status rigidity of the times and the sexists discrimination towards women it is amazing that a revolution did not occur sooner in Korea.
Published 5 months ago by T. Choy
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned and enjoyed some Korean history
I learned and enjoyed some Korean history. Well described some ancient customs that are not easy to describe. Anxiously awaiting for her next book.
Published 5 months ago by R. Lee
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