In 2011, Eunju Oh opens her door to greet a stranger: a young Korean American woman holding a familiar-looking knife—a knife Eunju hasn’t seen in more than thirty years, and that connects her to a place she’d desperately hoped to leave behind forever. In South Korea in the 1980s, young Eunju and her mother are homeless on the street. After being captured by the police, they’re sent to live within the walls of a state-sanctioned reformatory center that claims to rehabilitate the nation’s citizens but hides a darker, more violent reality. While Eunju and her mother form a tight-knit community with the other women in the kitchen, two teenage brothers, Sangchul and Youngchul, are compelled to labor in the workshops and make increasingly desperate decisions—and all are forced down a path of survival, the repercussions of which will echo for decades to come.
Inspired by real events, told through alternating timelines and two intimate perspectives, The Stone Home is a deeply affecting story of a mother and daughter’s love and a pair of brothers whose bond is put to an unfathomably difficult test. Capturing a shameful period of history with breathtaking restraint and tenderness, Kim weaves a lyrical exploration of the legacy of violence and the complicated psychology of power, while showcasing the extraordinary acts of devotion and friendship that can arise in the darkness.
“Haunting and suspenseful, The Stone Home dares its characters, and readers, to hope,” writes Jessamine Chan ’12,New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers.
Crystal Hana Kim is the author of If You Leave Me, which was a Booklist Editor’s Choice title and named a best book of 2018 by over a dozen publications. Kim is the recipient of the 2022 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award and is a 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner. She is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor at Queens College and a contributing editor at Apogee Journal. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family.