Crystal Hana Kim
Portraits of Home | Saturday, October 13th | 4pm
Crystal Hana Kim holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MS in Education from Hunter College. She has received numerous awards, including PEN America’s Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, along with fellowships and support from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, the Jentel Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
She is currently the Director of Writing Instruction for Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America and a contributing editor at Apogee Journal. Born and raised in New York, she currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.
When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.
Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.
Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.
Praise for If You Leave Me
“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” — People
"One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you’ll read this year." — Nylon Magazine