Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm

Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff. In his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life.

Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for that love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love, and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.

I originally set out to find all the small details that are wrong in the descriptions about Korea, simply because orientalism and romanticizing Asia by the West always makes me sick. Until I read the first half of the book, I had such an idea, but I totally abandoned that when I reached the part describing Korea after the war and when the story of Ji-Hoon emerged. I just enjoyed reading it. As I read the story, I learned more about the situation in Seoul at that time and just read it with pleasure. […]

It’s taken me time to find a way to express my appreciation in a ‘decent’ way. As you know stories about sexual minorities are barely found in Korea. Recently, a few novels have appeared but they have not received much attention. Thank you for treating this topic with the history of Korea, and thanks for not romanticizing Korea and the problem of sexual minorities in Korea.

Cultural sensitivity reader

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