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Brothers under a Same Sky

Gary Pak

Publication Year: 2013

Nam Kun and Nam Ki Han, brothers born on a Wahiawa sugar plantation, could not have been more different. Pragmatic and stubborn, Nam Kun dutifully supported his family but refused to become “one Christian fanatic” like his widowed mother and youngest sibling, Nam Ki. When Nam Ki is drafted into the army at the start of the Korean War, he tells Nam Kun that as a Christian he cannot kill. “You gotta do it,” Nam Kun replies, thinking the war will make a man of this “mama’s boy.”

Nam Ki finds refuge from the chaos and brutality of life as a soldier in his love for a young Korean woman, a Christian. He returns after the war to search for her and discovers she has become a prostitute. With his sense of reality shattered, Nam Ki must choose between his faith and all that he has witnessed in war-torn Korea. Brothers under a Same Sky explores the social and psychological turmoil experienced by Korean Americans during and after the war but, more important, it examines the individual’s decision to keep—or betray—a fundamental belief in human goodness. Set amid the social and political disruptions and forced separations that have characterized the history of modern Korea, this is the story of a struggle toward healing, unity, and perhaps a reconciliation between love and hatred.

Gary Pak is professor of English at the University of Hawai`i. His books include Children of a Fireland, A Ricepaper Airplane, and The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Cover

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pp. 1-11

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Part One

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pp. 3-48

... Nam Kun Han, or Robert N. K. Han, as he was known at the shipyard, woke up early that morning, at 5:11, according to the digital clock on the nightstand next to his bed. He was used to waking up early in the morning. That was his routine. Back home he usually woke up around 5, and given the three-hour time difference it was 2:11 at home. ...

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Part Two

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pp. 51-149

... The mud was the color of red clay, like the dirt of Wahiawā. Han bent down, with one arm cradling his wet M1 against his midsection under the poncho, and touched the mud, rubbing a bit between his fingers. It had a gritty feel and the color was of the earth from the fields where he grew up, that red dirt of Wahiawā that stained his khaki school ...

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Part Three

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pp. 153-161

... I didn’t want to tell Dad about Uncle Nammi. Didn’t think he would like it if I told him what the nurse had told me, that he was going into the deep end, especially about using his feces like finger paint. Didn’t want Dad to see Uncle Nammi in the state he was. But then I thought, my God, he better see his brother before . . . before it is too late....


E-ISBN-13: 9780824837945
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824838386

Publication Year: 2013