Title : If You Leave Me

Author : Crystal Hana Kim

Context : If You Leave Me is a historical fiction novel by Crystal Hana Kim set in Korea in the 1950s. This is an emotionally moving debut novel by Crystal Hana Kim about family, war and forbidden love. If You Leave Me is a deeply moving and richly narrated novel about a stunning representation of refugee life, the war, a perpetual and passionate romance and a woman’s tragic exploration and desire for autonomy in a world that is fast changing.

Synopsis : If You Leave Me is an unforgettable story of two condemned lovers in Korea. Both are forced to make upsetting choices during the years surrounding the Civil War, which continues to haunt everyone upto this day.

Sixteen year old Haemi Lee’s home is invaded by an army backed by communists from the north. She, along with her sick brother and widowed mother are left with no choice but to find refuge in a refugee camp along the coast. Haemi escapes every night for a few hours from the makeshift home of her family and the depressing circumstances, to meet Kyunghwan, her childhood friend.

Wyunghwan is very much focused on completing his education at school but fails to see that Jisoo, his own wealthier and older cousin has set his on the spirited and beautiful Haemi. Before joining the fight, he has made a firm decision to marry Haemi. However when Haemi becomes a wife, then bears a child, she finds that the decision she took to sacrifice Wyunghwan, the boy she always had loved for her family’s security, now leads to a dramatic story which will have extreme effects for generations to come.

Other works by the Author :

Crystal Hana Kim has taught collegiate writing, taught in high school and elementary school and is a Teach for America alum.

Contributing editor at Apogee Journal