Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review -- The Voices of Heaven

The Voices of Heaven
The Voices of Heaven by Maija Rhee Devine
My enjoyment rating: 2 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 0
Source:  I received a FREE copy of this book, but no other compensation
Genre: Fiction; historical fiction
Objectionable material:  Sexual innuendo

A story of tradition, families and sacrifice, The Voices of Heaven by Maija Rhee Devine, was unlike any book I have ever read.

Unable to produce a male heir, Eum-chun and her husband Gui-yong, must welcome a "seed bearer" into their family in order to secure the continuation of their family through a son. Conflicted and hurt by this necessity, we learn through alternating narratives, the internal feelings of all three participants, including seed bearer, Soo-yang.

This was a unique book -- as I was totally unfamiliar with Korean culture. I was fascinated by their traditions, and how they lived their lives under Japanese occupation and through the Korean War.

That being said, I found the alternating narratives difficult to follow, if for no other reason than I had to spend a considerable amount of time trying to remember the names, and to whom they belonged. Also, and this is to no fault of the author --my expectation was a historical fiction look at the Korean War, not a family drama -- with a rather explicit look at their intimate relationships (a dildo made out of a dried eggplant? Who knew?). I guess producing an male heir required us knowing what went on in each pair's bedroom.

Ultimately, it was a book that didn't keep my interest. I would set it down and forget to pick it back up again, which required extensive re-reads to remember what happened.