Wendy reviews ‘Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm’ by Hans Hirschi. Published by Beaten Track Publishing May 21, 2018, 210 pages.
Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff, but in his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life. Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for his love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?
Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.
The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I later purchased a copy of my own.
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I’m convinced that this author loves to make me cry. Well, not me specifically but as one of his readers in general. I’m certain that he delights in being able to have control of our emotions and plays us like a fiddle.
So… while I was fully expecting to have an episode or two of ugly cry *cue box of tissues*, what I was not expecting was for this story to grab hold of my heart and stay there.
Hans Hirschi has a grasp of the way people feel, react and speak that very few writers do and he can deliver that emoting to us in writing. His characters are so realistic that sometimes I forget I’m reading fiction.
Going on this journey with an elderly Martin and his friends was one of the best things I’ve experienced all year. As we are taken back to the past in Martin’s reflections I felt like it was me reliving his memories. I could envision a war torn South Korea and a village of people trying to build their lives over again after having lost everything. I could smell and taste the tea and meager bits of food that they creatively made into something delicious and sustaining. I could feel the budding friendship and understand the trepidation of attraction to the same sex in a culture that forbids such pairings.
Visiting Martin’s present life was a journey of its own as well. Having to adapt to a change in a decades long routine when a caretaker retires and meeting someone new, can be either devastating or looked at as something to welcome. Being in an environment where people dying is just another day in his life can either dull the senses or become the chance at meeting a new friend. It can also (and does) make Martin question what has become of the love he left behind.
When these new people in Martin’s life help him on the quest to find answers to his past, I couldn’t help but cheer them all on!
I always learn something about people when I read a book written by this author. I learn about cultures and compassion, family and friendship. I always am deeply touched and emotionally invested in what I’m reading. I lose myself in the stories and that’s just what happened as I read this book. I lost myself in a beautiful world that Hans Hirschi created.
One of the best books I’ve read this year!
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Hans M Hirschi has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years. A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world extensively and published a couple of non-fictional titles on learning and management.
The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to once again unleash his creative writing, writing feel-good stories you’ll remember.
Having little influence over his brain’s creative workings, he simply indulges it and goes with the flow. However, the deep passion for a better world, for love and tolerance are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work.
Hans lives with his husband, son, and pets on a small island off the west coast of Sweden.
Contact Hans through his website at http://www.hirschi.se