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Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee's Return to Koreaby Jane Jeong Trenka
Synopses & Reviews
The powerful second memoir by the author of the widely acclaimed The Language of Blood
made in Korea > cheap goods > cheap labor > cheap womb > cheap adoption > cheap immigration > cheap immigrant > cheap yellow daughter > honorary white > almost but not quite
Whenever she speaks to a stranger in her native Korea, Jane Jeong Trenka is forced to explain what she is. Japanese? Chinese? The answer—that she was adopted from Korea as a baby and grew up in the United States—is a source of grief, pride, and confusion.
Trenkas award-winning first book, The Language of Blood, told the story of her upbringing in a white family in rural Minnesota. Now, in this searching and provocative memoir, Trenka explores a new question: Can she make an adult life for herself in Korea? Despite numerous setbacks, Trenka resolves to learn the language and ways of her unfamiliar birth country.
In navigating the myriad contradictions and disjunctions that have made up her life, Trenka turns to the lessons from her past—in particular, the concept of dissonance and harmony learned over her years as a musician. In Fugitive Visions, named after a composition by Prokofiev, Trenka has succeeded in braiding the disparate elements of her life into a recognizable and at times heartbreaking whole.
"Trenka shakes up literary expectations in a beautiful, ponderous record of moving back to her birth country, Korea. Adopted as an infant, Trenka (The Language of Blood) was raised in the U.S.; in her latest, she faces lifelong feelings of inadequacy stirred by her move there, following an expired marriage (and several visits). Trenka uses her struggle for acceptance in Korea-her blossoming relationships with blood relatives, her struggle to achieve fluency in Korean-to re-examine a life of similar challenges in America. Trenka employs anecdotes, lists, newspaper clippings and other sources to create a multi-pronged approach to the idea of 'home,' though some techniques (like odd collections of key words) can be a distraction. Trenka tackles her bleak material with courage and grace, raising interesting questions, but her charm also shines in simpler memories, like her account of childhood piano lessons gone awry." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Jane Jeong Trenka has won numerous awards and fellowships for her writing. She is the author of The Language of Blood, called “original and beautifully written” by Publishers Weekly. She now lives in Korea.
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