On the Shelf /
Simon & Schuster Australia
This is a riveting exploration of female friendship, the intricacies of families, working women and the power of turbulent world events to impact on our closest relationships. Best friends Mi-ja and Young-sook live on the island of Jeju, a Korean island occupied by the Japanese, and are ‘haenyeo’ (sea women). Set over their lifetime, the story charts their lives across a range of both very challenging and joyful experiences. Set during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, The Island of Sea Women is mesmerising. Meticulously written and researched, it reveals intricate worlds and a way of life that amazingly, continues even to this day. It is incredible to think that communities of women would throw themselves into the sea each day and survive, only to risk their lives again the next day. Compelling, heart-wrenching and beautifully written, this is enthralling historical fiction.