The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See

On the small Korean island of Jeju, “typical” society has been turned on its head, as the women play the most important roles. They work outside the home, providing for their families, whilst the men mostly remain at home and care for the children. In particular, Jeju is known for its high-ranking and well-respected sea women, known as haenyeo; free divers who harvest the “wet fields” of the sea. Young-sook and her best friend Mi-ja are training as “baby divers”, learning from the previous generations of sea women and preparing to join the diving collective. Working in the sea is dangerous, however, and they must always have their wits about them and look out for one another. When war and rebellion break out on the island, these bonds of female friendship and family will be tested as never before. Read More »