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A Small Revolution Hardcover – May 1, 2017
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"A Small Revolution has all the makings of a riveting, sensory experience…Han’s careful unspooling of the narrative thread that holds the three pieces together is a powerful tapestry in reverse."—Hyphen Magazine
A BuzzFeed Binge-Worthy Literary Book
One of Electric Literature’s 34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year
One of Redbook’s 20 Books By Women You Must Read this Spring
“In her novel A Small Revolution, Han handles serious topics—mental illness, political activism, domestic violence—deftly.” —Los Angeles Times
“Gripping…Weaving back and forth in time, covering love, loss, democracy, and two continents, the novel opens with a startling premise: four young women are held hostage by a gunman at a small college.” —Hyphen
“A Small Revolution is a novel of remarkably rendered extremes.…It is an ambitious and accomplished debut that pulls us out of our comfortable window seats and places us in a room, in a young woman’s heart, and in a nascent democracy’s earliest days.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“This book will take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride that ultimately leaves you with a feeling of hope.” —Redbook
“In this compact debut novel, a young woman receives a swift education in love, violence, and the politics of 1980s Korea.…Intriguing, suspenseful…an eerily timeless story.” —Kirkus Reviews
“First novelist Han exudes a universal immediacy about what can happen when safety and sanity are repeatedly threatened. Although marked by events three decades past, A Small Revolution is a resonant parable for today’s volatile, fearful times.” —Booklist
“Swift and timely…A worthy and cinematic debut.” —Electric Literature
“It’s the courage of voices like Yoona, and Jimin Han, that force change. I couldn’t stop reading A Small Revolution once I began. It stirred a revolution inside of me and is one of those books that I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come.” —Entropy
“We’ve all wondered what it’s like inside the rooms where the horrors unfold. Jimin Han’s relentless, timely A Small Revolution grabs you by the collar and pulls you inside, then back through her sympathetic character’s history to answer that question: How does a good girl end up inside a brutal disaster? How does young love become a mirage of political activism—and accident become hostage-taking and murder? Open the book; remember to breathe.” —Gwendolen Gross, author of When She Was Gone and The Orphan Sister
“On the heels of South Korea’s 1980s era pro-democracy uprisings, Jimin Han’s gripping debut novel, A Small Revolution, explores the volatile space between love and loss, desperation and deed.” —Julie Iromuanya, author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, a finalist for 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award and 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Debut Fiction Award
“Jimin Han’s debut novel, A Small Revolution, is a riveting and mysterious tale of young love, political intrigue, family secrets, and dangerous obsession rendered in prose so gripping I couldn’t put it down.” —Joy Castro, author of The Truth Book and Hell or High Water
“With exquisite precision, Jimin Han’s A Small Revolution transforms the claustrophobic confines of an unfolding hostage crisis into an expansive meditation on the collisions between past and present, hope and fear, life and death. Elegant, elegiac, and unsettling, each new page offers insight and revelation.” —Steve Edwards, author of Breaking into the Backcountry
“Jimin Han’s A Small Revolution packs a big punch. With a front story taken from the headlines of gunmen on college campuses and a haunting backstory of events in Korea, our protagonist is forced into walking a tightrope between two worlds, as well as the past and present.” —Alan Russell, author of Lost Dog
About the Author
Jimin Han received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and her BA from Cornell University. Her work appears in NPR’s Weekend America, Entropy, the Rumpus, HTMLGiant, The Good Men Project, Kartika Review, The NuyorAsian Anthology, and KoreanAmericanStory.org, among others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute and lives outside New York City with her husband and children.
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The story touches on a lot of powerful subjects: political activism, domestic violence, gun violence, abortion, mental illness, young love, and stalking.
Yoona's romance with Jaesung is sweet and a little unsettling. Jaesung and Lloyd are friends who very much want to get involved in the political protests in South Korea, Yoona is reluctant and scared. The book takes place in the mid-80's, so when Yoona gets word that Jaesung has been killed in an accident, she wants information. But how does that happen in the 80's? There's no internet, no YouTube, even international phone calls were complicated (not to mention expensive). So Yoona is left with microfiche in the library, and Lloyd's theories/first person accounts.
The book isn't very long, and as more and more gets revealed the tension really ratchets up! I'm glad I had a nice rainy afternoon that I could spend reading, I didn't want to put it down. The characters in this book will stay with me for awhile.
This is what good writing does—it stretches you until you can hear your muscles tearing. I’ll be honest. At first, I was a little put off by the short passages that seemed more like journal entries than chapters. But as I followed Yoona in her attempt to come to terms with her current predicament—being held hostage by a former friend—I discovered a history I had little knowledge of. And I also learned of the pain immigrants can feel when trying to assimilate in this purported land of opportunity.
A SMALL REVOLUTION is powerful. And, like a dream, every reader is bound to experience it differently.
A Small Revolution, by Jimin Han, is a page-turner, full of tension and suspense. But it is a page-turner that expects you to think. The story begins in crisis as the main character, Yoona Lee, and three other female students are held hostage in their college dormitory by Lloyd, an obsessive former friend of Yoona. In short order, however, the narrative flashes back to a tale of young love the summer before, love that blossoms during a tour of Korea for students of Korean descent. The sorrowful daughter of an abused mother, Yoona blames herself for not protecting her mother from her father’s beatings. She promises herself that she will never fall in love, never allow herself to be emotionally bound to a man. But once she meets Jaesung, all reason goes out the window. This is a first love for each of them, and their relationship is both passionate and innocent. The novel is written as though Yoona is speaking or writing to Jaesung. Here she explains her feelings to him. “Everything suddenly mattered. . .I materialized into a physical being, all of me. Your hands on my skin reminded me I was alive.” The backdrop of this tender young love is a Korea filled with unrest. Political activists are setting themselves on fire and jumping from buildings to protest the unfairness of the government. Jaesung admires the martyrs, saying that their sacrifices are the way that change happens. Yoona begs him not to sacrifice himself. And so a major theme, self-sacrifice, is introduced. Once again the chronology changes, and we are back in the dorm room, with Lloyd, and the almost unbearable tension of the hostages. Will Yoona sacrifice herself for her friends? Should she? No spoilers in this review. Suffice it to say that Han plots the novel beautifully, and each element fits perfectly into the story’s structure. The writing is elegantly simple, often lyrical, with a poetic economy of language. I recommend this book very highly to lovers of literature. Besides being compulsively readable, this is a literary novel, deserving of serious reflection.
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ending. Why did I boyher¿?