Cha proved to me that the best books are those you may never fully understand. She presents us with a multi-genre classic that is incredibly moving despite (and maybe even because) of its incomprehensibility. Cathy Park Hong advised her students "to approach the book as if they're learning a new language." Intertwining the stories of the Greek muses, women martyrs, and Korean exiles and immigrants, Cha asks whether it is possible to transcend suffering -- and language itself -- in one of the most important works of American literature.— From Shannon Rae
Dictee is the best-known work of the multidisciplinary Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
This restored edition, produced in partnership with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), reflects Cha’s original vision for the book as an art object in its authentic form, featuring:
- The original cover
- High-quality reproductions of the interior layout
Dictee tells the story of several women: the Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, Joan of Arc, Demeter and Persephone, Cha’s mother Hyung Soon Huo (a Korean born in Manchuria to first-generation Korean exiles), and Cha herself.
This dynamic autobiography:
- Structures the story in nine parts around the Greek Muses
- Deploys a variety of texts, documents, images, and forms of address and inquiry
- Links the women’s stories to explore the trauma of dislocation and the fragmentation of memory it causes
The result is an enduringly powerful, beautiful, unparalleled work.
— Asian Review of Books