Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Dreams of Two Yi-Min, by Margaret K. Pai
A memoir of the author's parents: the mother a picture bride from Korea married to a man who ends up in an upholstery/furniture/custom drapery businesses and makes a meager, then successful, living in Hawaii during 1920-1940s, with little chance of returning during Japan}s occupation of Korea. A backdrop setting describes the Independence Movement associations organized by the community and the political workings and split of the Hawaiian Korean Methodist church and society. A not atypical immigrant experience story and somewhat flatly told; the tensions in the family are touched on lightly, a sort of rosy sheen of fondness in memory cast on the narrative—a tone that marks many books of this genre. But the story is valuable for the insider’s description of the period and the early Korean diaspora in the islands. Work hard, die young, carry on.