God-fearing Nara Lee carries a painful secret and a corrosive guilt. Set against an historical backdrop when Korea was a colony and citizenry was rendered impotent, Nara's life is forged in the 1919 March First Movement. Her journey takes her from her ancestral home to an insidious orphanage to a forced-labour factory during the Japanese Occupation. When colonialism has outlived its usefulness, she is emancipated only to live through an era of high suspicion and treason. After surviving the grand tragedy of the Busan Fire that leaves 28,000 people homeless, Nara leaves the squalid tent city that had become her home and is thrown headlong into a new life in Vancouver, Canada, where she elucidates the poetry of home. Amidst violence and abject injustice, Nara finds a way to rise up from the ashes again and again to rejoice in small triumphs in the homes she has lived, in the homes she has lost.
"Christina Park is a talented storyteller. The Homes We Build on Ashes, a family saga, is a compelling novel about the Korean resistance to the Japanese occupation, opposition to the forced Japanese assimilation, the Busan fire and the Korean War, as well as immigration in Canada in the 1960s. Her poignant depiction of women's ability to survive war and oppression, and their capacity to keep the family going through hardships and dramatic changes in life, will live with you long after you put the book down. "--Zoë S. Roy, author of Calls Across the Pacific and The Long March Home
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