Title: KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY
Author: Ann Y.K. Choi
Type of Book: Ebook
Genre: Fiction, Canadian Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Touchstone by Simon and Schuster
Price: Canadian Hardcover $29.99
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Upon reflection, after reading this book I realized that one of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much was due to the author’s talent for reaching inside her readers hearts and minds and being able to relate to them.
I also loved that this story was set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I truly enjoy reading books that contain “real” settings, especially settings that I can easily visualize in my head. Being born and raised in a small town north of Toronto, I have often visited many of the locations mentioned in the book.
I will never again be able to visit a Variety Store without thinking about this book and wondering about the lives of the people working behind the counter.
Visiting Korea for the first time since emigrating to Canada as a small child, Mary was shocked at what she saw. “[She] looked out at the endless rows of high-rise apartment buildings set against a dreary November sky. It made [her] claustrophobic. Were there any houses left in Seoul? This was not the Korea [she] remembered.” Reading this brought to mind the changes I have seen in my own hometown. Author Ann Choi uses very few words and yet is still able to evoke a sense of nostalgia in the reader for their own childhoods. That nostalgia is universal. It crosses gender and even racial lines. No matter who you are or where you grew up, your childhood home will always have a special (and usually rose-coloured) place in your memory.
What struck me the most about Mary’s visit “home” to Korea was that it was no longer her home. She felt like an outsider and was more comfortable in her adopted homeland of Canada. I loved that fact. It proves that immigrants who move to Canada become full-fledged Canadians and not just long-term visitors.
What people who discriminate against immigrants seem to forget is that we are all the products of immigration (except members of the Aboriginal groups). It may have been a few generations since our ancestors moved to Canada, but they all came to Canada with the same goal as modern-day immigrants – the goal of a better life.
I have often heard that writers are told to “Write about what you know.” It is evident to me that Ann Y.K. Choi has followed this advice. Although I am unable to prove it, I believe that she has taken settings and scenes from her own life and fictionalized them to fit within her story. If this is not the case, then I am even more impressed since reading the story truly made me feel as if these characters were actual people and not just two dimensional fictional characters.
Collage by Michael Lyons
I enjoyed the story very much and I believe this book should be required reading for all adults. It is especially important reading material for anyone who seeks to understand the life of Canadian Korean immigrants.
The writing is fantastic. The characters are believable and realistic and the story is both interesting as well as absorbing. I rate KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY as 5 out of 5 stars. 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
The Publisher has included a Reading Guide on their website which is a terrific companion guide to the book which can and will be perfect for those reading KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY as part of a Book Club.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Y.K. Choi immigrated to Canada from Korea in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. Ann has also graduated from the Humber School for Writers, the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and is completing her MFA in Creative Writing from the National University in San Diego, California. In 2012, she received the Marina Nemat Award.
To learn more about Ann Y.K Choi visit her online.
* Author Photo by John Burridge