Skip to main content

The Island of Sea Women Bets On...

The Island of Sea Women

March 2019

Lisa See is known for her books that are set in China, where she has shared with her readers many ancient traditions. With THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMAN, she has turned her focus to the Korean island of Jeju, where women dive for fish to both feed their families and sell, engaging in challenging physical work while men stay home with the children. I love the way Lisa can bring a world that I know little about into brilliant focus as she takes readers through seven decades beginning in 1938. Thinking of how much happened in Korea during that time period, I was astounded by how much I did not know. I found myself fascinated by the resiliency of the women who she writes about as they conquer so many challenges. Their courage under adversity was something to be admired.

As always, Lisa’s storytelling blends her signature of writing about female friendships against this dramatic historical backdrop. I read this book much slower than usual as much of this territory was uncharted for me. And just as Lisa had Chinese tea for her readers to share with their book groups for THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE, for THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN, she has Korean tea and cakes to indulge in. On her website, she also has an extensive section that includes her research for the novel, which you can find here. You will want to check this out after you read the book. To me, this is the same as when I googled "foot binding" after reading SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN. I found myself poring over the Author’s Note at the end where Lisa wrote extensively about her research. As always, I respect the details that she explores to bring a story to life.

Book groups, take note. This book will be one rich reading experience for you. And if you can, schedule a Skype chat with Lisa!

The Island of Sea Women
by Lisa See