An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter.
In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected - and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.
In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver's courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.
From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim's unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation's. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.
Juhea Kim was born in Incheon, Korea, and moved to Portland, Oregon, at age nine. Her writing has been published in Granta, Guernica, Catapult, ZYZZYVA, and other outlets. She is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling, an online magazine at the intersection of sustainable lifestyle and ecological literature. She earned her BA in art and archaeology from Princeton University. Beasts of a Little Land, her debut novel, will be translated and published around the world. After a decade in New York City, Kim now lives with her two rescue cats in Portland, Oregon.
"An epic novel brings complex 20th-century Korean history to life.... Extraordinary.... Gorgeous prose and unforgettable characters combine to make a literary masterpiece." - Kirkus Reviews
"Unrequited love, class warfare, scandal...this novel has it all" - Real Simple
"You wouldn't know from reading it that Beasts of a Little Land is Kim's debut novel. There is no shortage of ambition on display here, and fleet-footed narrative pacing to match it.... A book written with warmth [and] wisdom." - USA Today
"Some people say that all stories are about either love or war. Set against the backdrop of early 20th-century Korea, Kim's epic debut novel is about both." - Harper's Bazaar
"Kim delivers one of the dazzling debuts of the year with this epic story." - E! Online
"This kaleidoscopic debut is powerful, romantic and wholly unforgettable." - Ms.
"A potent and immersive reading experience, alive to the particulars of its place and time. Intimate but politically resonant, it's perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee and Isabelle Allende." - Chicago Review of Books
"Beautiful.... The writing has a dreamlike quality that immerses the reader in a fascinating world..... Not only is this a gorgeously written story, but Kim also gives us insight into a historical period with which many Westerners will be unfamiliar." - Historical Novels Review, Editor's Choice
"Kim's debut novel wondrously reveals broken families and surprising alliances created by uncontrollable circumstances.... [A] richly alluring and significant first novel." - Booklist