Today at 5:00pm on WCHE 1520am, Sam interviews Samuel Park, author of This Burns My Heart.
Chamara is difficult to translate from Korean to English: To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? Such is the burden Samuel Park’s audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in This Burns My Heart, an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea. On the eve of marriage to her weak, timid fiance, Soo-Ja falls in love with a young medical student. But out of duty to her family and her culture she turns him away, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped by suffocating customs.
In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had.
Will Soo-Ja find a way to reunite with her one true love or be forced to live out her days wondering “what if ” and begin to fully understand the meaning of chamara?
“Extraordinary… a page-turner of a book…South Korea provides not only the backdrop of Soo-Ja’s story but also the context for Park’s novel, which spans the decades after the Korean War to the beginning of the country’s economic boom.” – Chicago Tribune
“Park’s first novel looks at the punitive cultural rules that restricted women in 1960s South Korea. Stuck in an arid marriage, Soo-Ja longs for the man she forswore and sees her ambition reduced to carving out a successful future for her only daughter.” – The New York Times
Originally born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Korean-American author Samuel Park graduated from Stanford University and USC, where he earned his doctorate in English. He is the author of THIS BURNS MY HEART, which was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2011, a People magazine “Great Reads in Fiction,” and one of the Today Show’s “Favorite Things.” THIS BURNS MY HEART was also a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction of 2011, a BookPage Best Book of 2011, and an Indie Next List Notable Book. Samuel’s other work includes the novella “Shakespeare’s Sonnets” and the short film of the same name, which he wrote and directed. He lives in Chicago, where he is an Associate Professor of English at Columbia College.