Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

Just like last week's The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the video for Catherine Chung's debut novel Forgotten Country (Riverhead Books) raises the bar for book trailers everywhere.  Haunting, compact, and slickly-produced, this is an almost perfect example of how authors and publishers should be marketing their books.  If Forgotten Country wasn't already on my wish list, the two minutes in this video would convince me to put it there.  The novel is being recommended for fans of Amy Tan, Eugenia Kim, Lisa See, and Chang-Rae Lee, but I think it has even broader appeal.  The trailer does a good job of explaining what the book is about, but here's the publisher's jacket copy in case you need more details:
On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings. Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement. Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

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