When Young-sook and Mi-ja first meet, it is not an auspicious beginning. Mi-ja is caught stealing food, but the wisdom of Young-sook's mother prevails and the two girls become friends and then train together for their village haenyeo, the all-female diving collective. In the decades that follow, their friendship is forged through the turbulent events of Japanese colonialism, World War II, and the Korean War, but is ruptured by tragedy.
Set on the Korean island of Jeju between the 1930s and 2000s and steeped in Korean culture and traditions, this a fascinating story of friendship, narrated by Young-sook and anchored in real events. [Small-medium font]
Favourite book of the year. So informative and moving.
All 12 members found 'Island of Sea Women' fascinating and multi-layered, a thoroughly good read!
Beautifully written. A social history of a previously unknown part of the world. We loved it.
Everyone loved this book. We had a very lively discussion about the sad history of Korea/Jeju, and the amazing work of these women divers.
We've all enjoyed this book. It is an impactful and informative read, with a good mix of facts and fiction. A page turner!
We all found 'The Island of Sea Women' very interesting and enjoyable. We learnt a lot about Jeju Island which no-one had known of before reading this book. Some found parts of the story very emotional. The author wove the story together very well with the main characters and the history of the island. Overall it was an excellent read which drew the reader right into the life of the lovely strong 'haenyeo' women and the tough life they led. We would definitely recommend.
This is one pf the best books we have read! The characters are convincing and we learnt so much about Korean history as well as their social and cultural life. The author wove an absorbing story around historical events and although this made for grim reading in parts, was a very satisfying read and definitely recommended.
An engaging book from the start, we learnt about a fascinating side to Korean culture and time in history.
All agreed it was an amazing book. A great discussion and very in depth thoughts. One of our best books.
We all enjoyed the book - it was great to learn about the amazing lives of these women, and to understand the conditions under which they lived.
All learnt a lot about the state of continual wars over a long period of time. Story dragged at times. The life of the women was fascinating.
A wonderful book.
Everyone enjoyed this book. Learnt a lot through this fictionalised history of Korea. The story of the 'haenyo' was fascinating.
This is a fascinating book about a way of life and a country we all knew very little about. All very glad to have read it despite some very sad scenes of brutality and terrible loss.
A novel of resilience, survival, hope, love, loss, loneliness, prejudice, determination, strength but mostly the theme of forgiveness. We rated it 5/5 as it engendered a great deal of discussion. Well-written and incredibly well researched.
We all really enjoyed this book and found it really interesting.
The book rated consistently highly across our group - well researched, well-written, fascinating subject matter which has generated interest in learning more about Korea.
Had a big emotional impact on some members - stirring up personal losses. Engendered a range of emotions - frustration at the haenyeos' acceptance of their subjugation, admiration of their strength and courage, and very importantly, their certainty of their value. Everyone enjoyed the book and wept over the cruelty.
Tragic, informative and very well-written. Culturally and historically very interesting. The power of female relationships was fascinating.
The book generated a lively discussion about gender roles, and the politics, culture and history of Korea, as well as trying to understand the decisions the characters had made. Some found this quite a grim read.
Everyone read it!
A well-researched and captivating novel. We learnt a lot about Korean history and culture. The characters were engaging and believable.
We liked the mixture of history and story.
A fascinating story that everyone enjoyed reading. A lively discussion.
Fascinating, informative, gripping - though political material was confusing. "I enjoyed learning about the 'haenyae'", "I loved the book", "Some amazing descriptions", "So many different layers", "Convoluted but believable". "Things happen in this book that remind you of other things".