Crystal Hana Kim

Critically Acclaimed Novelist
National Book Foundation 5 Under 25
Travels from: New York, NY

“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” — People

Crystal Hana Kim is the author of If You Leave Me, which was a Booklist Editor’s Choice title and named a best book of 2018 by over a dozen publications. A recipient of the 2022 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award and a 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner, she teaches at Columbia University and in the Randolph College MFA program. Her work has been published in Elle Magazine, The Paris Review, Glamour Magazine, Guernica, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor at Apogee Journal.

If You Leave Me is and 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. Richly told and deeply moving, it’s 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.

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If You Leave Me

William Morrow |
Novel

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.

One woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.

Crystal’s Recent Work

If You Leave Me – Reading Guide

Crystal’s Upcoming Events

Crystal’s Consulting Services

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Booklist Editor’s Choice
2022 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award
2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner

Media Kit

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