“The Color of Heaven” by Kim Dong Hwa (Pantheon, 2009)

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In this concluding volume to the Color of Earth trilogy, Kim Dong Hwa takes the relationship between Ehwa and her mother to a new level, for the little girl is now seventeen and a blossoming woman.  The women find they have more in common than they thought, as they wait and yearn for their lovers who are far away, wondering when they will return.  Nevertheless, Ehwa still has some crucial lessons to learn from her parent.  But Hwa must bring the series to a close, and he does so with Ehwa’s betrothal to Duksam, and their beautiful wedding.  Her mother says goodbye to the daughter she’s had in her home for so long, and while her lover now returns to her for good, she finds herself once again looking out from her home, waiting, this time for the return of her daughter who she now misses greatly.  Kim Dong Hwa’s artwork and scenery continue to astound, while The Color of Heaven does an incredible job of revealing facets of Korean culture rendered in such a beautiful way.

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Originally written on August 8th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

Originally published in the Sacramento Book Review.

“The Color of Water” by Kim Dong Hwa (Pantheon, 2009)

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In the second book of the trilogy, The Color of Water, after The Color of Earth, Ehwa is now a growing girl and boys are on her mind all the time, but readers can see the beautiful woman she will become.  And yet she still has a lot to learn about life, the world, and more importantly, men and what they can be like.  Fortunately she has her mother to educate her on the ways of the world and the ways of men and their desires.  Ehwa is a naïve young girl, but a fast learner.  With the expression “third time’s the charm,” Ehwa has high hopes for this third, new boy in her life, Duksam.  Friction grows between Ehwa and her mother, as the girl is always wanting to go out and find Duksam, while ignoring her duties and chores.  Ehwa has also attracted the eye of an old man who will do everything he can to get her.  There is also jealousy growing between Ehwa and her mother, who receives infrequent visits from her “picture man.”  Kim Dong Hwa continues his beautiful artwork and wonderful poetic words that combine simile through nature to educate Ehwa and readers about love and life.  Readers will be left anxiously waiting for the conclusion of the trilogy, The Color of Heaven.

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Originally written on July 18th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

Originally published in the Sacramento Book Review.