Still Life with Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother

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Scribner, 1996 - Family & Relationships - 320 pages
In this radiant memoir of her grandmother's life, Helie Lee probes a history and a culture that are both seductively exotic and strangely familiar. And with wit and verve she claims her own Korean identity, illuminating the intricate experiences of Asian-American women. Born in 1912 - "the year of the rat" - to aristocratic parents, Hongyong Baek came of age in a unified but socially repressive Korea, where she learned the roles that had been prescribed for her: obedient daughter, demure wife, efficient household manager. Ripped from her home first during the Japanese occupation and again during the bloody civil war that divided her country, Hongyong fought to save her family by drawing from her own talents and values. Over the years she provided for her husband and children by running a successful restaurant, building a profitable opium business, and eventually becoming adept at the healing art of Chiryo. When she was pressured to leave her country, she moved with her family to California, where she reestablished her Chiryo practice. Writing in her grandmother's voice, Helie Lee depicts the concerns and conflicts that shaped one family's search for home. Evocative and keenly felt, Still Life with Rice interprets issues that touch all of us: the complex nature of family relations, the impact of social upheaval on an individual, and the rapidly changing lives of women in this century.

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STILL LIFE WITH RICE: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother

User Review  - Kirkus

In a bio-fic, Lee makes her debut both recounting and imagining her Korean grandmother's eventful life: childhood and marriage under Japanese occupation, opium smuggling in China, and flight during ... Read full review

Still Life With Rice FANTASTIC!

User Review  - suzle -

An amazing true story of a Korean woman and her family before during and after the Korean War. This daughtersisterwifemother is determined to care for her family during an troublesome time period in ... Read full review


Worms for Dinner 39
Marriage of Strangers 49

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About the author (1996)

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Helie Lee grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives near her family. She lectures nationwide.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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