Fiction. Northeast Asian American Studies. The latest from Korean-American author Maija Rhee Devine, THE VOICES OF HEAVEN is a rare gem in English-language literature about Korea, a story that takes us deep into the devotion and secrets of a family living in Seoul at the cusp of the Korean War. A tale that spans decades, THE VOICES OF HEAVEN has been expertly woven together to reveal not only the injustices of unmitigated life circumstances but also the restorative power of truth and love. Maija Rhee Devine presents a stellar cast of empathetic characters to spin a tale that draws readers into the shadows of Korea's Confucian web that at once constrains and defines the powerful will of its people.
During the final years of the Japanese Occupation, when most Korean brides and grooms were married sight unseen, Gui-yong and Eum-chun strike gold by finding a love as sweet as sticky rice. But their love for each other and for their secretly adopted daughter is not enough, as they must soon accept the impossible--a mistress moving in to bear Gui-yong the male child deemed necessary in a society still smoldering in Confucianism. After the Korean War drives the family apart, it falls on the shoulders of their adopted daughter, Mi-Na, to figure out how to keep her parents' love burning through this life and into the next--and ultimately make sense of the past.
Flowing from her firsthand experience of growing up in Seoul during the Korean War, Maija Rhee Devine's novel reveals uniquely Korean colors and sounds as she leads readers through an extraordinary love story that parallels the tragedies of the war.