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If You Leave Me: A Novel (Hardcover)

If You Leave Me: A Novel Cover Image
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“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” People

“Heartrending . . . a stunning feat of lyricism.” — USA Today

"One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you’ll read this year." — Nylon Magazine

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.

Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.

About the Author

Crystal Hana Kim holds an MFA from Columbia University and is a contributing editor for Apogee Journal. She has received numerous awards, including PEN America’s Story Prize for Emerging Writers, along with fellowships and support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, among others. Born and raised in New York, she currently lives in Chicago. If You Leave Me is her first novel.

Praise For…

“Combines vivid depictions of traditional Korean culture with an immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.”

“War, family and doomed love are all center stage in this debut novel about the Korean civil war, the years that follow and the choices people are forced to make. Haunting.”
New York Post, The 20 Best Reads for Your Summer Break

“A remarkably absorbing novel of people enduring the unendurables of war with grace, toughness, and undying love. If You Leave Me marks the debut of a born storyteller.”
Chang-rae Lee, author of Native Speaker

“A gripping, heartrending tale of the birth of modern Korea filtered through the prism of an intimate love story.  In fresh, often astonishing prose, Kim brings her characters to life: complicated, flawed, and hard not to fall in love with. A strikingly original work.”
Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle

If You Leave Me marks the debut of a striking new voice. An unforgettable story of family, love, and war set against the violent emergence of modern Korea, Crystal Hana Kim has a gift for the lasting image. Moment by moment, her characters come alive.”
Gary Shteyngart

“If You Leave Me is graced with truly wonderful writing; great poise, lyricism, intelligence, and an utterly engrossing portrayal of life.”
Richard Ford

“An engrossing story of love, family, and war on the Korean peninsula. Timely and timeless—a beautiful debut.”
David Ebershoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

If You Leave Me is a thrilling debut, a lyrical and lovely novel that beautifully showcases Crystal Hana Kim’s emotional intelligence and empathy for her characters.”
Emma Cline, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls

If You Leave Me is exhilarating... Crystal Hana Kim has written a novel that teaches us and guides us, one that captures majestically, perfectly, not only our histories but our present and our future.”
Paul Yoon, award-winning author of Snow Hunters

“A love story and family saga melded into one, If You Leave Me is an unforgettable summer release about two young adults finding their way in the world.”
Parade, Top 25 Hottest Books of Summer

“Kim’s heartrending saga—told from the perspectives of five characters—examines how difficult choices can test even our closest relationships.”
Real Simple

“A family saga and romance set during the Korean War and its aftermath. Though a historical drama, its concerns—including mental illness and refugee life—could not be more timely.”
The Millions

If You Leave Me is a historical novel that manages to feel current and captivating, a family saga, and a portrait of a woman—a mother—who will mesmerize, shock, and surprise. Lovingly told, lyrical, and smart.”
Victor LaValle, award-winning author of The Changeling 

“A family struggles to balance tradition and change in Kim’s marvelous debut. . . . [this] lyrical intergenerational saga resonates deeply and will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Orphan Master’s Son.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A gracefully crafted tale of war, family, refugee life, and two ill-fated lovers during the birth of modern Korea.”
Chicago Tribune, 25 Hot Books for Summer

This compelling, gorgeous debut novel takes place in wartime Korea… One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you’ll read this year, set as it is against the backdrop of finding a way through a callous world, of finding a way to preserve love in a time of war.
Nylon Magazine, 46 Great Books To Read This Summer

“A beautiful love story revolving around families forced to flee their homes during the Korean War.”
Chicago Magazine, 10 New Books for Your Summer Reading List

“Crystal Hana Kim’s debut novel, If You Leave Me, is the saga of Haemi and Kyunghwan, childhood friends turned forbidden lovers, who are separated by civil war in Korea and brought together years later, when Haemi must choose between love and loyalty.”
Popsugar, 30 of the Newest, Hottest Books to Pick Up This Summer

“Kim renders her multivoiced, multilayered ancestral and cultural history into stupendous testimony and indelible storytelling.”
Booklist (starred review)

“If you love lush, historical love triangles where history plays a shadowy, villainous role, read If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim.”
The Millions interview with Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant

“A love story and family saga melded into one, If You Leave Me is an unforgettable summer release about two young adults finding their way in the world.”
Parade, The Top 26 Hottest Books of Summer 2018

“Kim’s portrayal of the effects of mental illness on a family at a psychologically naïve time is perceptive and moving.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A truly beautiful, thoughtful book that will sit with me for some time.”
Writer’s Bone, 16 Books That Should Be On Your Radar

“Ms. Kim possesses a pleasingly clear and fluid style of writing, and in the opening chapters she deftly intertwines personal and political conflicts.”
Wall Street Journal

“Kim’s prose is most potent and visceral in its depictions of literal hunger. She allows hunger to seep into conversations about other subjects, giving it its rightful omnipresent quality.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Kim writes so tenderly you can’t help but feel compassion for her three main characters. These complicated, muddy creatures lurch into adulthood clinging to flimsy expectations of duty and family.”
New City

“Both a forbidden love story and a portrait of war and refugee life, If You Leave Me will tear at your heartstrings. A breathtaking can’t-put-down read.”
Marie Claire, 11 Of The Best New Books For August 2018

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062645173
ISBN-10: 006264517X
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Pages: 432
Language: English