book cover of Comfort Woman

Comfort Woman

(1997)
(The first book in the Comfort Woman series)
A novel by

 
 
"Comfort women"--that dumbing-down euphemism for the almost one quarter of a million Asian women who were made sexual slaves of the Japanese military during World War Two. Comfort Woman, the title of Nora Okja Keller's brave and utterly compelling first novel, tells of one such woman, the Korean Akiko, and her first-generation Hawaiian -American daughter Beccah. Narrated in their two voices, what is harrowingly pieced together is the horror of Akiko's enslavement in a Japanese camp, her escape by abandoning her very name, her country and for a time her voice, a forced marriage to an American missionary, more intent on her body than her soul. It is only the birth of Beccah that tethers her: "Blooming in the boundary between life and death, this child, with the tendril of her body, keeps me from crossing over and roots me to this earth." Beccah is in turns stifled and mortified by her mother's suffocating protectiveness, yet frightened by her absences into a spirit world of ravings and tyrannical ritual.

The fabric of their stories is shot through with the pain of Akiko's exile and of Beccah's rejection of her mother's incomprehensible omens--until after her death when she comes to know her mother's story and understands it as a part of her own.

The novel's subtle reflection on the nature of colonisation, of deracination and cultural transformation, is rendered through a wonderful precision of language and originality of characterisation. Comfort Woman is a rich testament to the unquenchable resilience of the human spirit. --Ruth Petrie

Genre: Historical

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Used availability for Nora Okja Keller's Comfort Woman

Hardback Editions

January 1999 : UK Hardback
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
ISBN: 0-7145-3046-8 / 978-0-7145-3046-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


April 1997 : USA Hardback
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
ISBN: 0-670-87269-5 / 978-0-670-87269-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


Paperback Editions

August 2001 : UK Paperback
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
ISBN: 1-86049-874-4 / 978-1-86049-874-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Virago
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


May 2000 : UK Paperback
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
ISBN: 1-86049-812-4 / 978-1-86049-812-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Virago
Availability: Amazon UK   


March 1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
ISBN: 0-14-026335-7 / 978-0-14-026335-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

March 1998 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Comfort Woman
Author(s): Nora Okja Keller
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA