The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love–letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.
The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing–in Eun Ji Koh–a singular, incandescent voice.
E. J. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize (Louisiana State U. Press, 2017). Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of The MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships and a 2017 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship, and was runner-up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.