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**“Ghost story, family saga, parable, feminist reimagined myth: Angela Mi Young Hur’s hugely ambitious Folklorn is a spellbinding shape-shifter of a novel that tackles questions of race, culture, and history head-on, exploring the blurry boundaries between past and present, fact and fantasy, and personal and cultural—or cosmic.” —Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
A New York Times Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novel of 2021 | An NPR Best Book of 2021
A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.**
Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she’s put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she’s run from all her life. But it isn’t long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.
Years ago, Elsa’s now-catatonic mother warned her that women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family.
When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.
Folklorn is a wondrous and necessary exploration of the myths we inherit and those we fashion for ourselves.