Uncovering the Secret Life of Women in War Time

A conversation with Crystal Hana Kim Propelled by a riveting love story, and informed by historical context, If You Leave Me explores the Korean War and its aftermath from the perspective of the ordinary people who endured it. Kim’s novel centers the experience of a woman who comes of age in the midst of violence, displacement, hunger, and illness, which shape every relationship in her life. If You Leave Me is both gentle and fearless; innocence coexists with taboo. The novel’s insistence on listening to what women think, and what they feel, is mirrored in its author’s approach to research and the writing process. Apogee’s executive editor, Alexandra Watson, spoke with author and Apogee nonfiction editor Crystal Hana Kim about the genesis of the book, and its themes. Alexandra Watson (AW): You’ve had a lot of interviews and conversations about If You Leave Me! What questions keep popping up? Crystal Hana Kim (CHK): A lot of people have asked me about my research, because it’s so steeped in historical facts, and not a lot of people know much about the Korean War. They want to know what kind of background I have. A lot of people have also asked about...
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The Language of Medicine: An Interview with Chaya Bhuvaneswar

I met Chaya Bhuvaneswar on Twitter where she tirelessly champions other writers, especially women of color. I felt cheered by her enthusiasm and I looked forward to the publication of her debut story collection, White Dancing Elephants, which was selected as the winning manuscript in the 2018 Dzanc Prize for Fiction. Then I read her book, and became a fan. Chaya’s stories are dark, weird, often funny, the characters and lifestyles acutely observed, her language sharp as an arrow. Take this description of a mother and father given by the couple’s artistic and mentally disabled adult son who narrates the story, “Jagatishwaran”: Mother used to come at night, years ago, before I put up the screens, to ask how I was, but now she’s afraid. Once I pushed him hard, not her, never her, and I felt disgust at his shriveled skin, his nasal voice, always skeptical, his tiny well-read eyes like an elephant’s, nearly blind but remembering everything.

Apogee Issue 11 is here.

Dear Apogee Fam, For those of you who have been following us this past year, we’ve gone through some major transitions as a journal—including transitioning from print to digital issues. We made this decision to make Apogee more accessible to a wider range of readers. With web accessibility, we remain dedicated to bringing you voices that challenge the white cishetero patriarchal structure of mainstream publishing.
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