book cover of The Mermaid from Jeju
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The Mermaid from Jeju

(2020)
A novel by

 
 
A POPSUGAR Best Book of December 2020
An AMAZON Editors Pick December 2020
A SHE READS Best Historical Fiction Novel Winter 2021
A BUSTLE Most Anticipated Winter 2021 Read
A LIBRO.FM Influencer Pick, December 2020

Inspired by true events on Korea's Jeju Island, Sumi Hahn's "entrancing [debut] novel, brimming with lyricism and magic" (Jennifer Rosner, The Yellow Bird Sings) explores what it means to truly love in the wake of devastation.


In the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, Junja urges her mother to allow her to make the Goh family's annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade abalone and other sea delicacies for pork. Junja, a sea village girl, has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth. While there, she falls in love with a mountain boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja's place.

Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father. Everywhere she turns, Junja is haunted by the loss of her mother, from the meticulously tended herb garden that has now begun to sprout weeds, to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only her grandmother and herself. But the world moves on without Junja.

The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan's forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of US troops. Junja's canny grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea's occupation understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, and the perils of post-WWII overtake her homelands, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she's ever known.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"From the horror and devastation of World War II rises the heartwarming and magical tale of The Mermaid from Jeju. Goh Junja is an unforgettable haenyeo whose life radiates the truth of dreams. Sumi Hahn is a dream weaver whose poetic and powerful prose makes us believe in magic and reconfirms the transformative power of storytelling." - Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

"You’ll pick this book up to learn about the haenyeo, the mermaids of the island of Jeju and their fascinating matriarchal society. But you’ll finish it in one sitting because Hahn is a masterful storyteller. The political climate, the beauty and depth of place and the power of love come together effortlessly. The result is a book that will stay with you. I can’t wait to see what Hahn writes next." - Karin Tanabe

"The Mermaid from Jeju is a riveting, heartfelt tale that bears witness to the suffering of those who struggled to survive a tumultuous time in the history of South Korea. Hahn’s novel deftly exemplifies the resilience of the human spirit to transcend tragedy even as memories of the brutal Jeju massacre continues to haunt survivors." - Amita Trasi


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Used availability for Sumi Hahn's The Mermaid from Jeju

Hardback Editions

December 2020 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju: A Novel
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
ISBN: 1-64385-440-2 / 978-1-64385-440-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Alcove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

November 2021 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju: A Novel
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
ISBN: 1-64385-954-4 / 978-1-64385-954-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Alcove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

December 2020 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
ISBN: 1-66205-405-X / 978-1-66205-405-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


December 2020 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
ISBN: 1-66205-572-2 / 978-1-66205-572-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


December 2020 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Availability: Amazon   


December 2020 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Availability: Amazon AU   


December 2020 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Availability: Amazon CA   


December 2020 : UK Audio edition
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Title: The Mermaid from Jeju
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

December 2020 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mermaid from Jeju: A Novel
Author(s): Sumi Hahn
Publisher: Alcove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA