In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman’s Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family by Helie Lee + Author Interview [in AsianWeek]
When Helie Lee wrote her first book, the bestselling Still Life With Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother (Scribner, 1996), little did she know that she would be gravely endangering the lives of her long-lost relatives in North Korea. Still Life, which recounts Lee’s grandmother’s heroic life from privilege to poverty and eventually immigration, proved to be a major success not only in the United States, but throughout Asia as well.
Lee’s book ends with her grandmother’s ultimate wish to see her first-born son. Separated for over half a century, Lee’s oldest maternal uncle and his family remained trapped in North Korea while most of the immediate family had managed to escape during the Korean War. Tragically, the widespread international popularity of Lee’s book put Lee’s uncle and his family in serious personal danger from the North Korean government.
Lee’s new book, In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman’s Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family (Harmony Books, 2002) is a harrowing true account of how Lee and her family, with the help of the mysterious “guide,” managed to rescue not only her uncle but eight additional members of his extended family. It’s a story of courage and tenacity, but for one in which the old saying “Be careful what you wish for, it might come true” is ruefully accurate. …[click here for more]