Jennifer's Reviews > The Calligrapher's Daughter

The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
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's review
May 02, 2011

liked it

Contrary to what many other reviewers think, I felt the best part of this book was the first half. I was really enjoying the plot and pacing until about half way through, when the story started to get a little hokey. The other thing I wasn't crazy about, which seems to be more and more popular these days, is the multiple changes in point of view. When Faulkner did it in The Sound and the Fury, it was unique and purposeful, giving the reader multiple perspectives on situation and character while leaving other characters without a voice, which was just as purposeful. When Kim does it, I don't feel as if we learn anything about the characters that we didn't already know from the first person POV of Najin, the protagonist, and frankly, her voice is the most interesting, so why bother? This was one of those books that I was bored with after the first 200 pages, but I'd come too far to not finish it and it wasn't horrible by any means, just disappointing. In addition, the final 25% of the book is rushed, speeding through a decade of plot as if the author started to get bored with her own story and she just wanted to get it over with. The final chapters are too coincidental and a touch on the sappy side. Thematically, I wasn't buying Najin's whole "struggle with her Christian faith" thing because the inner conflict didn't really feel like it was a significant element of her character, and she doesn't really seem to care all that much until she is afraid it will negatively impact her relationships with other characters. I also wasn't buying this "dutiful wife in love with her husband" thing because the description of their relationship was so tepid. Overall, I guess it's worth reading once, but I wouldn't purchase it for the personal library.

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