IF YOU LEAVE ME is among The Center for Fiction’s 2018 First Novel Prize Long List
On Sale August 7, 2018
Available for pre-order: IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, HarperCollins, Books-A-Million, iBooks
“If You Leave Me is graced with truly wonderful writing; great poise, lyricism, intelligence, and an utterly engrossing portrayal of life.” — Richard Ford
“Crystal Hana Kim has written a remarkably absorbing novel of people enduring the unendurables of war with grace, toughness, and undying love. If You Leave Me marks the debut of a natural storyteller.” — Chang-rae Lee, author of Native Speaker
“If You Leave Me is a thrilling debut, a lyrical and lovely novel that showcases Crystal Hana Kim’s emotional intelligence and empathy for her characters.” — Emma Cline, author of The Girls
“Crystal Hana Kim is here to break your heart. Or maybe that’s just what her remarkable debut novel has done to me. If You Leave Me is a historical novel that manages to feel current and captivating, a family novel, and a portrait of a woman–a mother–who will captivate, shock and surprise. Lovingly told, lyrical and smart, its a hell of a lot to get right on your first try.” — Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
“If You Leave Me is exhilarating. It is that rare debut that so masterfully weaves a tapestry of love, war, loss, hope, and the forgotten-I didn’t want to leave these characters: moment after moment left me breathless, and my heart ached and plummeted by the story’s end. Crystal Hana Kim has written a novel that teaches us and guides us, one that captures majestically, perfectly, not only our histories but our present and our future.” – Paul Yoon, author of The Mountain
“Crystal Hana Kim’s If You Leave Me marks the debut of a striking new voice. An unforgettable story of family, love, and war set against the violent emergence of modern Korea, Kim has a gift for the lasting image. Moment by moment, her characters come alive.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Little Failure
“A gripping, heart-rending tale of the birth of modern Korea filtered through the prism of an intimate love story. In fresh, often astonishing prose, Kim brings her characters to life: complicated, flawed, and hard not to fall in love with. A strikingly original work.” — Jessica Shattuck, author of The Women in the Castle
“An engrossing story of love, family, and war on the Korean peninsula. Timely and timeless — a beautiful debut.” — David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
About If You Leave Me
An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.
When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.
Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.
Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.
Foreign Editions of If You Leave Me are forthcoming from:
Turkey (Hep Kitap)