White Chrysanthemum

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Author: Mary Lynn Bracht

9781784705459 | PB | pp. 320 | 2018 | Vintage

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht is about the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war.

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Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea.

One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier heading for where Emi is guarding the day’s catch on the beach. Her mother has told her again and again never to be caught alone with one. Terrified for her sister, Hana swims as hard as she can for the shore.

So begins the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war. Moving between Hana in 1943 and Emi as an old woman today, White Chrysanthemum takes us into a dark and devastating corner of history — and two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.

Taking place in Korea, White Chrysanthemum is about two sisters named Hana and Emi that are separated by World War II. The sisters are haenyeo – free divers – and belong to a strong female community. At the age of 16 years old, Hana is taken away by a Japanese soldier to become a comfort woman. The novel focuses on the experiences of comfort women and how the war impacted different hierarchies of individuals from multiple perspectives. The dual timeline gives a perspective as events unfold through Hana’s experience in the 1940’s and a later perspective in 2011 from Emi’s experience.


Mary Lynn Bracht







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About the Author

White Chrysanthemum is a novel written by Mary Lynn Bracht. It was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 2018. The novel is based on comfort women, Korea, Japan, and history. The novel has fictional names, characters, places, and incidents. It is written in dual timelines that are split between the two women: Hana’s life during the 1940s and Emi’s life in 2011. The novel switches between the two women’s perspectives intermittently during the novel. One chapter of the novel is told from the perspective of YoonHui, Emi’s daughter. The novel includes a map from 1943, further readings, and a notable dates section.


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