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In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family

In the Absence of Sun A Korean American Woman s Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family A breathtaking true story of a rescue mission undertaken by a young woman and her family in one of the most repressive countries in the world Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncl

  • Title: In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family
  • Author: Helie Lee
  • ISBN: 9781400081387
  • Page: 312
  • Format: Paperback
  • A breathtaking true story of a rescue mission undertaken by a young woman and her family in one of the most repressive countries in the world.Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncle, lost decades ago when he was a child during the family s daring escape from North Korea As an adult, he was still living there under horrid conditions When her grandmotheA breathtaking true story of a rescue mission undertaken by a young woman and her family in one of the most repressive countries in the world.Helie Lee often had heard her grandmother speak of an uncle, lost decades ago when he was a child during the family s daring escape from North Korea As an adult, he was still living there under horrid conditions When her grandmother began to ail, Helie became determined to reunite her with her eldest son, despite tremendous odds Helie s mission became even urgent when she realized that her first book, the bestselling novel Still Life with Rice, about the family s escape, might have angered the North Korean government and put her uncle in danger Pushing through rivers and forests, fighting the cold, bribing and manipulating border guards, gangsters, and secret service agents, Helie and her father finally achieve their goal But there are many hurdles Her uncle is forced to make a harrowing choice leave his North Korean family behind or continue to live in oppression and starvation away from his beloved mother And Helie has to face her deep, sometimes ambivalent, emotions about her identity in the family and as a Korean American woman Unmarried and outspoken, she struggles in Korea, where women marry early and keep silent, and writes eloquently about the landscape there, both literal and cultural She comes through a heartbreaking love affair only to face an intense and confusing relationship with the Guide the man who, despite being crude and macho, ultimately helps to save her uncle and eventually his extended family through several daring acts of heroism In the Absence of Sun is a riveting adventure story and a powerful tale of family bonds and reunion An eerie fear crawled through my flesh as I stood on the Chinese side of the Yalu River, gazing across the murky water into one of the most closed off and isolated countries in the world I couldn t believe it Even as my boots sank into the doughy mud, I had trouble coming to terms with the fact that I was actually standing there I was not prepared for the kind of despair and insane fear I felt that day My wizened old uncle looked nothing like the sweet faced teenager in the faded photograph that Halmoni kept pressed between the pages of her Bible That day, at the Yalu River, staring helplessly into his terrorized face, I hadn t fully realized what a dangerous thing I had done the year before I had placed him and his family in danger By including details of my uncle s life in a book, I had alerted North Korea s enigmatic leadership to the identity of my relatives in a nation where it was better to remain invisible From In the Absence of SunFrom the Hardcover edition.

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      Posted by:Helie Lee
      Published :2019-010-16T17:58:00+00:00

    About "Helie Lee"

    1. Helie Lee

      Helie Lee Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family book, this is one of the most wanted Helie Lee author readers around the world.

    112 Comments

    1. ***UPDATE: 3 Sept 2017: Wrote this review in 2008 or 2009.sited it in 2017 and found myself (somewhat) horrified by how harsh I was. Totally unnecessary. Revised review is below.***When I read this book almost 10 years ago, I found it to be poorly-written, and was irritated by the seemingly endless typos and grammatical errors.I couldn't get into the story at all, especially after Helie Lee's first book, Still Life With Rice, which is nothing short of a masterpiece. Granted, when you debut with [...]


    2. I remember in 1997 watching a special news report in Taegu, South Korea about a multi-generational family of 12 that defected from North Korea. Years later I found this book for 25 cents at a neighborhood garage sale, half way across the world, in Brooklyn, NY. It wasn't until the later half of the book that I realized that this was the same family that I had watched on the news a decade ago. As a Korean-American, the issues of re-unification and the US foreign policy with N. Korea are delicate [...]


    3. I love this book. It is the harrowing tale of a woman's attempt to reunite her family in America with their relatives trapped in North Korea. Scary, terrifying, yet hopeful. Highly recommended.


    4. A necessary follow-up -- almost a sequel -- to Still Life With Rice, this gives a surprisingly detailed and lengthy narrative of the author's family efforts to bring relatives out of North Korea. Some of the maudlin confessional may seem intrusive, but it adds to the pathos of the whole scene, heightening the emotional temperature while also acting as a sort of parallel to the attitudes about the North Korean family members. Because I traveled to the border area last spring, I could picture the [...]


    5. The story of Helie and her family's arduous journey to free her long lost uncle and his family from the harsh realities of North Korea was captivating and heart wrenching. This story is a follow up to her first novel, which sadly, is the underlying reason for the rescue described in this novel. Her uncle was in North Korea and if found to have family in the U.S.A. it could be fatal to him. Having lived in South Korea for a number of years I was aware of the realities of the North but this book i [...]


    6. I really enjoyed reading Helie Lee's first book, Still Life With Rice, about her grandmother's life. This book is told from Helie's point of view and details the Lee family's long and tedious ordeal in assisting their relatives' escape from North Korea.Where the story faltered was in Helie's immaturity both in her writing and personality. I found some of her descriptions exaggerated and overly dramatic and bordering on soap opera scenarios when it came to her romantic encounters. I would have pr [...]


    7. I started this book thinking that it would be about the author's journey of finding her family, but she takes you on her journey of finding herself as well. A great read for anyone (especially a woman) who feels torn between all the different directions life seems to be pulling them in. By the end of it, you will feel like you are on a first name basis with Helie, wishing you could meet up with her for coffeeYour independent, feminist side will love her strength, and your romantic side will hope [...]


    8. This was really interesting to read while in South Korea. I only gave it four stars because I didn't like the parts of the book that dealt with Helie's search for herself although I see how that was so intertwined (for her at least) with her family's escape that she had to leave it in. I wish it had included more details from the defectors on their lives in North Korea but maybe they weren't comfortable sharing more than what is already in the book.


    9. Follow up to Still Life with Rice. Need to read Still Life with Rice first. This book is very interesting. The perspective of the writer as an American and view of North Korea during current day. After reading both of the books by Helie Lee (enjoyed them very much as stories), I feel I have a better understanding of history and happenings past and current. Both books are true stories.


    10. another amazing book by helie lee. this time she herself is going to korea to find (and smuggle out) her uncle who was left in north korea during the war. it's crazy--what she did, what she risked, what happened. everything.


    11. Immersive true story of a Korean-American woman's attempt to smuggle her relatives out of North Korea. A glimpse into the impoverished country, rife with human rights abuses, that we don't hear about enough in the news.


    12. The idea of the story had so much promise, but it was really not written well. The last couple chapters were the most well writteno bad the rest of the book wasn't. Perhaps she was just too close to the story to leave out some of the frivolous details that didn't need to be there.


    13. This book was fabulous!! Painful and eye opening in many respects. The author gives away the ending about midway through the book but I still found myself on the edge of my seat at times. Highly recommend.


    14. Loved reading this oneuldn't put it down! Amazing story of how the author's family in North Korea began contact after her first book, Still Life with Rice", and the journey of them meeting and eventually defecting from North Korea. Heartbreaking and sweet all at the same time!


    15. Fantastic sequel to Still Life with Rice. The story itself is more compelling and less compelling than the first book. I want to meet Lee -- she is an amazing, strong woman.


    16. Interesting how Helie can make a book about her uncle's escape from North Korea all about her. If she had written more than a couple of pages about her uncle, it would have been better.



    17. This is a must-read follow up to Helie's first book, Still Life with Rice. Her story has stuck with me and always will. Enjoy!


    18. What a fantastic story. This is what non-fiction should be! This should be on everyone's to read list. I hope she writes another book,





    19. The chest thumping between President Trump and Kim Jung Un scares us all. It looks a bit like a spitting match between rogue children but the North Korean situation is very, very serious. It's not kids play. We all should be attempting to gain insight into just how evil the North Korean government is and insisting on an intelligent and appropriate response.Helie Lees book is a great place to start. It unfolds the human side - the tragic experience of millions of North Koreans imprisoned by a dar [...]


    20. I loved the prequel to this book and wanted so badly to know what happened to the son! Unfortunately I don't love the authors tone and so I didn't love this book as much as the prequel to it. While I appreciate Helie's unflinching honesty, I struggled with the love story and felt like this book dragged on and on. Still, helped to know there was a happy ending to such a tragedy.


    21. I'm half-way through and am in agony! I know the end from the photographs printing in the middle of the book, but the story getting to the end drags on. This is a true historical record. if I'm in agony reading it years after the fact, the family must have suffered much, waiting and waiting. we have so much to be thankful for in our country, our freedom, our technology, our protective military, our capitalismSo, I'm a chapter or two away from the end and am sick of the relationship between The G [...]


    22. Although this was a sequel, a true story of her and her family's attempt to get her uncle's family out of North Korea, the book was too self-promoting. I understand she had a lot of her own personal feelings and struggles she faced in undertaking this huge and highly illegal feat but I wanted to hear more about the actual events that took place and the voices of her family members who she helped escape.


    23. I loved Still Life With Rice so much, I have had this sequel on my to read list for forever. And while it was nice to complete this family's path to freedom, I didn't love it as much. Mostly because it was more about Helie than her Grandma and her story. It drug on in parts during her long winded self exploration. But in all, I got a lump in my throat reading about the family's reunion after so many years and such horrific tragedies.


    24. This book is a follow-up to "Still Life With Rice". In this book the author recounts her experiences helping her relatives escape North Korea. It's hard to believe that a people could be so brainwashed in this modern world as the people of North Korea have been.


    25. I was really torn between three and four stars with this. If you liked the first one you must read this. You'll be glad you did. It gives you some closure.



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