The Magical Language of Others

The Magical Language of Others Review

The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love—letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.

As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history—her grandmother Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre—and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words—in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language—to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love? Eun Ji Koh fearlessly grapples with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma, arriving at insights that are essential reading for anyone who has ever had to balance love, longing, heartbreak, and joy.

The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing—in Eun Ji Koh—a singular, incandescent voice.

Title:The Magical Language of Others
Edition Language:English

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    The Magical Language of Others Reviews

  • Olive

    The below review originally appeared on Open Letters Review.Nearly every teen girl has probably had their own Home Alone fantasy at least once. As ones age ticks upward, so does the restlessness for i...

  • Nenia ? Aspiring Evil Overlord ? Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestTHE MAGICAL LANGUAGE OF OTHERS is a very short book that packs a punch. In it, E.J. Koh describes her parents taking a fantastic job opportunity...

  • Yong Hoon

    I knew this book would move me. I also knew it would hurt.I met E. J. Koh last September when she visited my workplace with her publisher. I told her how meaningful it was that a book like this was ge...

  • David Yoon

    At 15 EJ suddenly finds herself moving in with her older 19 year old brother in California. Her father has accepted a lucrative position back in South Korea and EJ's mother and father have planned a r...

  • Christy

    The Magical Language of Others is a story of memories. Much of this memoir is translated letters that Eun Ji received from her mother after her parents moved off to South Korea. Eun Ji and her brother...

  • Renata

    25 The world is a fun place. We are not born to win or lose against others. I am here to be happy for myself. An elephant does not think its trunk is heavy. If that is ones (destiny, fate) and (respo...

  • Bina Bhakta

    Beautifully written. Definitely will need a few years to process this book 😭...

  • Kinga

    My parents didnt give me happiness, I said. But they set me free. They gave me freedom. Again, the pretty cover tricked me. I wanted to like this so much!But sadly, I just couldnt get used to this st...

  • madandelion

    I'm such a big sucker for muted colours and pastel covers....

  • Lynda

    Many thanks to the publisher (Tin House) for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is amazing, and walks a fine line between prose and poetry, telling the stories of women, aban...