Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff, but in his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life. Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for his love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?
Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.
I work with the elderly and spend a lot of time listening to them as they do life review so I was really excited about this book. I thought it had the potential to be an amazing book. Unfortunately the execution did not work for me.
The story goes back and forth between the past and the present and that aspect was fine. My major complaint was how detailed and drawn out everything was. The majority of the book is about what Martin is doing at the assisted living he lives at, how he meets his friends, the conversations they have, what they eat and their meals, what they drink at their meals, what they say to the waitress at those meals. On and on the minor details went. I was quickly bored and found myself skimming entire sections. I did not care what they ate or what they did for Christmas.
What I wanted was more time with Martin and the man he loved. I wanted to see them fall in love in the past sections and I wanted to see them reunited in the present sections. I didn’t get any of that. We barely see the couple in past and what scenes we do see are filled with uninteresting detail. There’s not emotions, no feelings. In the present we get a ton of detail on how Martin makes the friends he travels to Korea with but we get zero time with him and Ji-Hoon once again.
Unfortunately this did not work for me at all. While the technicality of the writing was fine, the content was dry and overly detailed in my opinion.
Cover: The cover was done by Natasha Snow and I think she did a good job on it. It’s a lovely cover.
Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published May 21st 2018 by Beaten Track Publishing