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148KOREAN STUDIES, VOL. 21 dings are inevitably followed by a "feast". What is the difference? Anachronistic vocabulary and quaint turns of phrase serve at times to exoticize and distance the modern Korean "other." Nonetheless, Getting Married in Korea is an engaging and important book, with much to say about gender in late twentieth-century Korea. Korea specialists patiently reading footnotes will be rewarded by a wealth of new and interesting material; students will find the text lively, the conclusions clear. It should prove a useful addition to courses on Korean society, and is a welcome contribution to the scholarly literature on Korean women. Linda S. Lewis Wittenberg University East to America: Korean American Life Stories, by Elaine H. Kim and Eui-Young Yu. New York: The New Press, 1996. 386 pp. $25.00 cloth. I like this book. Even before I sat down and read it cover to cover, I had picked it up several times at our local bookstore/coffeehouse. I think this is an important book and one long overdue. It makes a definite contribution to the literature on Asian Americans, especially Korean Americans. Many of the stories are quite poignant and memorable. It is a book that I've recommended to friends, one I've bought and sent as gifts to others. Inasmuch as it fills a large gap in the literature on Korean Americans, I anticipate that it will be talked about in academic circles for many years. I think the authors deserve recognition for carrying out such an ambitious and worthwhile endeavor. At the same time, I think the story has just begun. There are far more Korean American life stories than those contained in Kim and Yu's fine book. There are many more voices, many more Korean American life stories that can and should be told. My major reservation with this one is its Los Angelescentered , California-biased view of the world. While the authors are based in California, and many Korean Americans passed through or ended up in LAs Koreatown, there are other places, voices, and stories that could have been included. What, for example, of Korean Americans in Hawai'i, or the Midwest , or the East Coast. Korean Americans have been well-represented in academia for decades, and yet there really wasn't one story that captured the unique take of Korean academics on America, on assimilation, on what it means to be Asian in America. I am surprised, for example, that the Ivy League, boat-shoed, polo-shirted, New Englanders with Korean surnames were also neglected. I suspect that part of the reason why it is possible to write an entire book BOOK REVIEWS149 of Korean American life stories that focuses exclusively on people with a connection to California is that California has figured so centrally into the lives of many Korean Americans. But, as Fm sure that the authors would agree, "place and space" matter—the communities in which people reside have a big effect on how they perceive themselves and those around them. It is not that I am opposed to a book focused on the California experience, I just think that it might be more aptly titled East to LA: Korean American Life Stories. With such a title, I would also have liked to have seen more explicit interweaving between conceptions of class, community, and ethnicity among the Korean Americans of LA who are featured in this book. As it is, these are—by design—randomized stories, in no particular order or sequence, ofjournalists, lawyers, hair stylists, shop owners, students, soldiers, clergy, and others. While the riots known as Sa-i-gu (4/29) in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial that affected many living and working in Koreatown, were mentioned by more than one person, for the most part, one does not get a clear or consistent picture of how Korean Americans in California see each other or the larger social and political context. But then again, that may be the message here—that even among this group of seemingly similar souls, there are big differences. Indeed, I found myself at times relating to the feelings and emotions of some characters, but at other times...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 148-150
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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