Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m beyond thrilled to share a fabulous extract from Miracle Creek, alongside my review!
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine: a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for “dives”, used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night – trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges – as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
Young Yoo’s life changes forever when she and teenage daughter Mary move from their home town of Soul to Baltimore. Her husband, Pak, remains behind, aching to be with his family but determined nonetheless to support from afar until he can join them. Young works her fingers to the bone, catching glimpses of her daughter when they pass at home, before she returns to work and Mary returns to school. Both parents have made sacrifices for their daughter. They are intent in their goal: providing her with a bright and happy future.
After several years, Pak joins them in America and together he and Young kickstart a revolutionary form of medical treatment, a device they call the Miracle Submarine. A new means of therapy for people with autism, infertility, ADHD ect. An oxygen chamber that can improve symptoms and help patients with their difficulties. Pak and Young are applauded for their brilliant results and constant compassion for their patients. After years of struggling, of sacrifice and courage, they have reached their goal. A new life, a new future. For Mary, and for them too.
But when the submarine explodes, killing two people and permanently injuring numerous more, Young and Pak are faced with the unbearable weight of their guilt and a horrendous future of wondering if they could have done more to prevent what happened, of saving those two lives. But when shocking evidence comes to light, it appears the explosion might not have been accidental, after all.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is such a dazzling read. Part courtroom drama, part literary mystery, this is one that completely snatches your breath away. It honestly and authentically examines myriad issues and difficulties that the characters’ face: the hurdles of immigration, language barriers, social struggles, parenting. At times, it can be tough reading as the book does touch upon many emotional themes such as disability, loss, abuse and grief but all the way through, there is a subtext in the prose, one of care, compassion and sensitivity, beautifully written by the author. Elizabeth’s personal plight made for a raw and heartfelt read that will resonate with a lot of people, on a level not all books can reach. This is such a startling and deeply moving book. I loved it.
Miracle Creek, Virginia
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
MY HUSBAND ASKED ME TO LIE. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first. It was such a small thing, what he wanted. The police had just released the protesters, and while he stepped out to make sure they weren’t coming back, I was to sit in his chair. Cover for him, the way coworkers do as a matter of course, the way we ourselves used to at the grocery store, while I ate or he smoked. But as I took his seat, I bumped against the desk, and the certificate above it went slightly crooked as if to remind me that this wasn’t a regular business, that there was a reason he’d never left me in charge before. Pak reached over me to straighten the frame, his eyes on the English lettering: Pak Yoo, Miracle Submarine LLC, Certified Hyperbaric Technician. He said—eyes still on the certificate, as if talking to it, not to me—
“Everything’s done. The patients are sealed in, the oxygen’s on. You just have to sit here.” He looked at me. “That’s it.” I looked over the controls, the unfamiliar knobs and switches for the chamber we’d painted baby blue and placed in this barn just last month. “What if the patients buzz me?” I said. “I’ll say you’ll be right back, but—” “No, they can’t know I’m gone. If anyone asks, I’m here. I’ve been here the whole time.” “But if something goes wrong and—” “What could go wrong?” Pak said, his voice forceful like a command. “I’ll be right back, and they won’t buzz you. Nothing will happen.” He walked away, as if that was the end of the matter. But at the doorway, he looked back at me. “Nothing will happen,” he said again, softer. It sounded like a plea. As soon as the barn door banged shut, I wanted to scream that he was crazy to expect nothing to go wrong on this day, of all days, when so much had gone wrong—the protesters, their sabotage plan, the resulting power outage, the police. Did he think so much had already happened that nothing more could? But life doesn’t work like that. Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy. How could he not know that, after everything we’d been through? From 8:02 to 8:14 p.m., I sat and said nothing, did nothing, like he asked. Sweat dampened my face, and I thought about the six patients sealed inside without air-conditioning (the generator operated the pressurization, oxygen, and intercom systems only) and thanked God for the portable DVD player to keep the kids calm. I reminded myself to trust my husband, and I waited, checking the clock, the door, then the clock again, praying for him to return (he had to!) before Barney ended and the patients buzzed for another DVD. Just as the show’s closing song started, my phone rang. Pak. “They’re here,” he whispered. “I need to stand watch, make sure they don’t try anything again. You need to turn off the oxygen when the session ends. You see the knob?”
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About the Author
Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore. She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly. Her stories have won the GlamourEssay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, The Asian American Literary Review, and PANK. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons. Miracle Creek is her first novel.
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