Thursday, March 28, 2019

Lisa See

Lisa See's new novel is The Island of Sea Women.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you decide to focus your new novel on women divers on the Korean island of Jeju?

A: In many ways I feel that they called to me. I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, leafing through magazines, as we all do. I came across a tiny article—just one paragraph and one small photo—about the diving women of Jeju Island. I ripped it out of the magazine and stuck it in my purse. I hung onto the article for eight years before I decided that now was the time to write about the haenyeo.

They have a matrifocal society—a society focused on women. The women hold their breath for two minutes and dive down 60 feet (deep enough to get the bends) to harvest seafood. They are the breadwinners in their families, while their husbands take care of the children and do the cooking. In the past, women would retire at age 55. Today, the youngest haenyeo is 55.

I was and am amazed by their bravery and persistence, as well as the camaraderie—sisterhood—that they share with each other. It’s said that in about 15 years, this culture will be...[read on]
Visit Lisa See's website.

--Marshal Zeringue