A Canadian ex-pat and a Korean former "comfort woman," each scarred by their pasts, seek redemption.
Two separate lives become connected in South Korea: traumatized former Korean "comfort woman" Eun-young, who struggles with her past of rape and violence; and Michael, a troubled young Canadian arriving in Korea to teach ESL, whose principles and humanity are tested by Seoul’s seedy expatriate underbelly. A world away and two generations apart, their lives collide through the fiery Jin, who challenges stereotypes of her race and gender as well as Michael’s morality.
Through meticulously crafted and heart-wrenching prose, Sad Peninsula takes the reader across oceans and decades, outlining the boundaries between seduction and coercion, between love and destruction, between a past that can’t be undone and a future that seems just out of reach.
Mark Sampson is the author of Off Book and several short stories and poems in literary journals across Canada. He holds a master's degree in English from the University of Manitoba and a journalism degree from the University of King's College. Originally from Prince Edward Island, he currently lives in Toronto.
Sampson deftly negotiates the varying chapters and their viewpoints, surprising us with character revelations without tipping into melodrama, and forcing us to look more closely when we might prefer to turn away.
The fact that readers are so emotionally engaged in discovering the answers to [the novel’s] questions indicates that the author has done a lot right here.
Meticulously crafted, moving, and hard to put down.
“[A] fabulously rich picture of expat life ... [C]omplex and original"
[H]arrowing and deeply moving . . .
Mark Sampson…is a good, vivid writer.