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Daughters of the dragon by William Andrews - Book review


Daughters of the dragon by William Andrews -   Book review

This book is not one that you will come across easily cause it is not a popular book or even a classic but, I promise you that you feel find it to be an extremely rare gem. It will help you in terms of understanding history, war and humanity in a raw and real way. But, most important of all it does it while giving utmost importance and dignity to the individuals that are involved in these circumstances much bigger than them. 

Twenty year old Anna Carlson is one such individual in this story. She is a Korean American adoptee who decides to go back to South Korea from America to trace her biological parents. There she meets a poor yet elegant woman Hong Jae-hee who gives her a two headed ivory dragon tortoiseshell comb and tells Anna a story about herself, her war, her life and her country. She tells Anna an epic tale which starts with Japanese occupation of Korea and China during the 2nd World War and the forced sexual slavery of Korean women by the Japanese Army to be used as 'Comfort Women'. As the story goes on Anna comes to terms with her own roots, which are intertwined with rich and ancient tree of her birth country's history and culture with her adopted country's role.

This book though based on Korea is still extremely relevant for a country like India given our colonial past. This story does not desire to blame or bash Japan for its past war atrocities but aims to hold accountability. This is extremely important for any nation not only for the sake of a sense of justice and fairness but also for the sake of forgiveness and healing. Apologizing does not make one any less than and the one who accepts it and forgives becomes even greater. But, the one who forgives also receives something extremely powerful. The permission and almost the audacity to grieve. Only with truly grieving can one truly heal. It is almost like cleaning and opening up an old, dirty and rusty lock that has been deliberately ignored and forgotten. The key to this lock is a small but clean key of apology. Nothing grand or embellished, nothing made out of Platinum or Silver or Gold but just a clean and strong piece of metal that is the right fit and the right size.  

If a nation is to be considered a tree then, the people from a past that we were not born into are also a part of that tree just like we are. If a part of that tree gets hurt or rotten then it becomes important to fix it. It becomes even more important to remember and understand it to understand our own selves. The Daughters of the Dragon will certainly help you understand it. It will make you hurt, cry, angry, happy, grateful and question everything but most of all it will help you understand more. Understand your country, your history but importantly your individuality.