Elsa Park is a physicist that has been able to escape the dynamics and the expectations of her family. But when her mother breaks her long term silence, Elsa is forced to go back home and face her past demons.
I received this amazing ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I am so grateful. The symbiosis of this book sounded so great, but I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It had elements of science, elements of Korean mythology, and elements of family dynamics and struggles. It sounded like a lot and I honestly didn’t know how it would all blend together and become a complete and consistent storyline. Although I had some very small and petty issues with the book’s plot, I absolutely LOVED it and am so extremely blessed to have read it. It was such a cool idea and a story that definitely needed to be told.
This read was just so beautifully done, but DAMN did it cover a LOT of issues that are circulating in our society. Through Elsa and these vast cast of colorful characters, we saw so many issues and the struggle to juggle them all.
Elsa is such a strong character, but BOY she had a lot of issues up in that brain of hers. Her brother, Christopher, is such a strong presence in her life and the reason that she got out initially from her family. She also leaves her family at such a young age and this fact leads her to have almost a disconnection between them. Her mother has surrounded her with so much fantasy through the stories of her ancestors that I think she leaned on science to make sense of it all. Her mother is such a mystery to her and honestly such a crazy mystery to me.
Her family has faced so many struggles and it gave me so much heartbreak and sadness. Her parents lived through so many terrible things in life and they didn’t know how to cope with them and their struggles passed on to their children. Christopher lives up to the expectations of an Asian eldest son and bears the burden, but holds resentment. Elsa is almost forced out by Christopher, but also struggles to find out her identity and her family’s identity.
OMG there is just so much going on with this book and I could talk about it literally for YEARS. It was so hauntingly beautiful, but it was a LOT and I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything. However, I just enjoyed this story so much and it made my heart so happy even through the sad parts.
There were a lot of racial issues in this book as well that were very interesting to me. The American aspect was unfortunately sad, but nothing new; however, the racism in Sweden was very interesting to me. I found the way they handled and saw race to be interesting, but made me almost sad because I almost expected better. The way that Elsa dealt with the racism in both America and Sweden was an interesting take, but it made me feel so sorry for her.
The most interesting aspect of this book was the folklore of Korea. The stories of myth that were included were so much fun to read and almost were like a break for me from the very heavy dialogue and storyline of the book. However, you definitely had to pay attention to them because the author weaved these stories into the storyline and the characters themselves. Elsa’s struggle to find meaning of her culture through these stories was so amazing to me and such a unique take on contemporary fiction.
This was such a powerful story that went over so many amazing themes: mental health and different ways that societies cope with it, racism, first generation immigrants, family heritage, mythology, and finding your identity. I enjoyed this book immensely and can’t wait for more from this author.
My Book Rating
4/5 Book World
Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published on April 27, 2021 by Erewhon
Copy Read: ARC (ebook)