Kim, Ayoung M.
KIM, Ayoung M.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Feng Liu Productions, P. O. Box 248, Mill Valley, CA 94942. E-mail—[email protected] ayoungkim.com.
CAREER: Writer, poet, artist.
Asian. Woman. Alone. (memoir), Feng Liu Productions (Mill Valley, CA), 2003.
Contributor to A. Magazine: Inside Asian America.
SIDELIGHTS: An inveterate traveler, Ayoung M. Kim is the author of the memoir, Asian. Woman. Alone. On her Web site, Kim noted that she got her first passport when she was only twelve months old. "Since then, I have been unable to stay within the borders of the U.S.," she noted. "There are those who like to travel or think it's a nice idea," Kim further noted on her Web site. "For me, I must travel."
Kim is a writer and poet, and in her 2003 memoir she blends her need for travel with that of writing; the two require the same ingredients, she commented: "Fearlessness. Natural observation skills. Humility." In a mix of interconnected essays and prose poems, Kim relates her own attempt at healing a broken heart and soul. A month before her wedding, Kim calls the engagement off, much to the displeasure of her family. Attempting to make herself whole once again, she travels to a Zen retreat and then to her ancestral home in South Korea. Once there, however, Kim finds that her relatives "were not interested in hearing my story," as she recalls in her memoir. "I was an Asian in Asia and I learned that I wasn't Asian."
Her travels take her from the Zen retreat to South Korea and throughout Southeast Asia, making new friends and lovers along the way, and reflecting on her past life. She also witnesses scenes of suffering which echo her own feelings. In the end, Kim comes to find a new path and way in life by embracing the rhythms and also the suffering of those around her in this search for inner peace.
Kitty Chen Dean, reviewing the memoir in Library Journal, praised Kim's "knack for writing creative nonfiction," yet found the story line of her debut book "thin," and her sentiments "watery and clichéd." A contributor for Midwest Book Review Online was, however, more positive, calling Kim's title a "powerful and moving autobiographical story of personal hardship and growth."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kim, Ayoung M., Asian. Woman. Alone., Feng Liu Productions (Mill Valley, CA), 2003.
Library Journal, May 1, 2003, Kitty Chen Dean, review of Asian. Woman. Alone., p. 130.
Ayoung Kim Home Page,http://www.ayoungkim.com/ (February 22, 2004).
Independent Publishers Group Web site,http://www.ipgbook.com/ (February 22, 2004).
Midwest Book Review Online,http://midwestbookreview.com/ (September, 2003), review of Asian. Woman. Alone.*