Friday, February 28, 2014

An Excerpt from Les Miserables

The scene: Paris, June 1832. A small number of insurgents (about 30 men) barricade themselves in a street corner, all expecting to be killed by loyalist forces (the police). Many of them are already dead.

Jean Valjean : An escaped convict who spent 19 years as a galley slave for stealing a loaf of bread.

Javert : A heartless man (police) who pursues Jean Valjean relentlessly for 17 years. Jean Valjean had narrowly escaped capture by Javert a few days earlier. In this scene he has infiltrated the insurgents, and was discovered and tied up.

Enjolras : the leader of insurgents

Marius : one of the insurgents (he becomes their co-leader with a heroic act)

   He (Enjolras) said to Marius:  "We are the two chiefs; I will give the last orders within. You stay outside and watch."
   Marius posted himself for observation upon the crest of the barricade.
   These dispositions made, he turned towards Javert, and said to him:
   "I won't forget you."
   And, laying a pistol on the table, he added:
   "The last man to leave this room will blow out the spy's brains!"
   "Here?" inquired a voice.
   "No, do not leave this corpse with ours.  You can climb over the little barricade on the Rue Mondetour.  It is only four feet high.  The man is well tied.  You will take him there, and execute him there."
   There was one man, at that moment, who was more impassive than Enjolras; it was Javert.
   Here Jean Valjean appeared.
   He was in the throng of insurgents.  He stepped forward, and said to Enjolras:
   "You are the commander?"
   "You thanked me just now."
   "In the name of the republic.  The barricade has two saviors, Marius Pontmercy and you."
   "Do you think that I deserve a reward?"
   "Well, I ask one."
   "To blow out that man's brains myself."
   Javert raised his head, saw Jean Valjean, made an imperceptible movement, and said:
   "That is appropriate."
   As for Enjolras, he had begun to reload his carbine; he cast his eyes about him:
   "No objection."
   And turning towards Jean Valjean:  "Take the spy."
   Jean Valjean, in fact, took possession of Javert by sitting down on the end of the table.  He caught up the pistol, and a slight click announced that he had cocked it.
   When Jean Valjean was alone with Javert, he untied the rope that held the prisoner by the middle of the body, the knot of which was under the table.  Then he motioned to him to get up.
   Javert obeyed, with that undefinable smile into which the supremacy of enchained authority is condensed.
   Jean Valjean took Javert by the martingale as you would take a beast of burden by a strap, and, drawing him after him, went out of the wine-shop slowly, for Javert, with his legs fettered, could take only very short steps.
   Jean Valjean had the pistol in his hand.
   They crossed thus the interior trapezium of the barricade.  The insurgents, intent upon the imminent attack, were looking the other way.
   Marius, alone, placed towards the left extremity of the wall, saw them pass.  This group of the victim and the executioner borrowed a light from the sepulchral gleam which he had in his soul.
   Jean Valjean, with some difficulty, bound as Javert was, but without letting go of him for a single instant, made him scale the little entrenchment on the Rue Mondetour.
   When they had climbed over this wall, they found themselves alone in the little street.  Nobody saw them now.  The corner of the house hid them from insurgents.  The corpses carried out from the barricades made a terrible mound a few steps off.
   Jean Valjean put the pistol under his arm, and fixed upon Javert a look which had no need of words to say:  "Javert, it is I."
   Javert answered.
   "Take your revenge."
   Jean Valjean took a knife out of his pocket, and opened it.
   "A surin!" exclaimed Javert.  "You are right.  That suits you better."
   Jean Valjean cut the martingale which Javert had about his neck, then he cut the ropes which he had on his wrists, then, stooping down, he cut the cord which he had on his feet; and, rising, he said to him:
   "You are free."
   When Javert was gone, Jean Valjean fired the pistol in the air.
   Then he reentered the barricade and said: "It is done."

Any comments on this snippet?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Recent Coundown Deal

An Amazon Countdown Deal on Tendrils of Life (that has just ended) yielded a good result. The following screen shot was taken in the early morning of February 13, 2014.

It didn't get within the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store, but #122 was not bad. It surprised me that it became #11 in Nonfiction category. (Though it has some nonfictional elements, Tendrils of Life is a work of fiction.) Perhaps people had flocked to romance novels because of Valentine's Day (probably it didn't help me), leaving nonfiction books in the dust.

It will not last long. Already it has slipped to #4,983 (from #122). It will go down considerably more before the next promo.

Though it was temporary, the following author rank was not too bad with just one book. 

And the #1 Best Seller sticker Amazon places was pleasing to see.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Major and Minor Characters

Major Characters


Jimin: Sixteen years old in 1950, he spent his first eleven years on Ockdo, a remote island in the South Sea of Korea. He lived in Hadong, a town near the southern seacoast, 250 miles south of Seoul, with his grandfather's extended family for one and a half years, then moved to Seoul with his mother and sister. 
Sora: She lived in America for seven years and came back to Korea in 1946 at the age of twelve. She went to an elite high school in Seoul, but the war brought disaster to her family. 
Sinman: Twenty-five years old in 1950, he is known to be a bastard son of the police chief of Hadong. 
Misern: Nine years younger than Jimin, she is his sister. She was born on Ockdo; Jimin loves and cares deeply about her. 
Bark Sangwon: He is Jimin's father. He grew up in Hadong and went to Teacher's College in Seoul. After getting married in 1927, he and his friends tried to establish a communal farm on Ockdo, his ancestral island. But then a conflict with the Japanese authorities thwarted them, and he went to fight the Japanese in Manchuria. After the Second World War he moved his family from Ockdo to Hadong and intended to settle there, but his involvement in a riot a year later changed everything for him and his family.

List of Characters


Bark Jimin               Protagonist
Bark Misern             Jimin's little sister
Bark Sangwon         Jimin's father
Sun Harbin             Jimin's mother
Bark Jongwon         Jimin's uncle; Sangwon's younger brother
Bark Hwayong         Jimin's grandfather

Yi Sora                     A girl with whom Jimin falls in love

Barn Sinman           Jimin's antagonist 
Barn Taesoo            Sinman's father; Hadong police chief
Barn Sookhee          Barn Taesoo's sister

Shin Yongnam        Best friend of Jimin's father Bark Sangwon
Shin Hoon               Yongnam's son

Kwon Yoojin           Jimin's friend from Hadong
Kim Unhee              A young mother Jimin meets in Hadong 

Doctor Jung           An official in the short-lived communist regime
Jung Namjin           Doctor Jung's son
Jung Jongsook        Doctor Jung's daughter

Comrade Hwang    A partisan band leader 
Kimoon                    A boy in a refugee camp in JiriSan 
Teacher Yang         An old man in the hijacked bus
Nam Wonsik           A young man with a pockmarked face
Ahn Doohan           A man from the north in the hijacked bus

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Feedback on Tendrils of Life Audiobook by Don Gilbert

"A Gripping Tale of Living in War"


If you could sum up Tendrils of Life in three words, what would they be?

Family trumps everything

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tendrils of Life?

This book is about relationships – and many of them are “potential relationships” in which the parties struggle to show their true feelings toward one another, with mixed success. When Sora finally connects with Jimin, I cheered them on with a happy heart!

What does Tim Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I read the book first, then listened to it. Tim Campbell’s character voicings actually helped me understand the characters much better!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

During the war, many people lost track of one another, and that is the subject of much of this book. As this is reviewed at the very end, it was so touching to me!

Any additional comments?

I couldn't put this book down! It is a gripping tale of two feuding families in wartime Korea, and the action and plot twists just keep coming, page after page. You get to see Asian culture by participating in it, and you get to experience the many ups and downs of life in a family by living it. "Tendrils of Life" makes you appreciate the strong loyalty that comes through being part of a family.

But most of all, this novel helps us see the day to day tragedy it is to live in a war-torn land. So many people have experienced this around the world, yet so many have never thought about how hard it really is. After reading this book, I so appreciate the relatively peaceful lives we are privileged to live!

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feedback on Tendrils of Life Audiobook by DeeGee 

What did you love best about Tendrils of Life?
Tendrils of Life is a page-turning literary epic in the style of Steinbeck's East of Eden or Buck's The Good Earth. Choi's characters bring alive the real experience of war -- not a date and fact overview from the history books, or a casualty count from the headlines, but the daily lives of realistic characters as they navigate the horrors and chaos of war.

Choi makes the reader care for Jimin and his family, but also understand the actions and motivations of his adversaries. What appears to be a classic family feud between the Barks and the Barns unravels to be a far more complex tale of human fallibility. There are no fairytale endings here, but Choi leads the reader through the sorrow to a place of hope.

What about Tim Campbell’s performance did you like?
Campbell's performance was masterful. He easily navigated any pronunciation difficulties with Korean names and language. His characterization was very natural and engaging -- making me forget that this was just one person dramatizing the story and numerous voices.

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