Preorder for April 27, 2021
“An ambitious genre-blending work exploring repressed grief, particle physics, generational trauma, and reimagined mythology.
Travelling across countries and through memory, Elsa Park mines her deceased mother’s tales for clues about a curse that may or may not be haunting the women of her family. No one in this story is perfect, but every single character feels real, each deserving of empathy and compassion—even when the world within these pages (and in society writ large) refuses to give it.
In clean, beautiful prose, Hur weaves an immense mythological world into Elsa’s intense and often tragic reality. The result is mesmerizing, a boundary-defying study on generations of a family as they navigate culture and race, abuses and expectation, and the lenses through which we determine fact from fiction, a personal past always impacting the present.”
A Korean-American scientist who has always been haunted by a ghostly imaginary friend, and whose mother warned that the women of their family were subject to a cyclical intergenerational curse, seeks answers in her mother’s folk tales and a family history riddled with war and loss, as the fate of her ancestors closes in on her.
A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.
Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she’s put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she’s run from all her life. But it isn’t long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.
Years ago, Elsa’s now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.
When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.