Koreann Thatch-roofed House in the Country, Artist Unidentified From TYKCollection

Wind-bell: 청계사 대웅전의 풍경 “한국 전통건축장식의 비밀” 허균, 대원사 Buddhist Temple Chunggyesa, Daewoongjun Hall “The Secret of Traditional Korean ConstructionOrnaments” by Huh Kyun, Daewonsa, Korea

Sunangdang: A Village Shrine and a Tutelary Wooden Deity


Nayoung’s Journey

Written by © Therese Young Kim

(The story of a young Korean woman’s courageous journey to reclaim her lost American dream.)


Partly based on true events, “Nayoung’s Journey” is a provocative tale of a courageous young Korean woman embarking on her courageous journey with love and trauma to reclaim the American dream she lost as the victim of a shocking crime.

Set against the backdrop of late 1960s Seoul, Hamburg, and New York City, and old world Korea, the story shines a glaring light on the magical yet tragic world of American dream, told in ways never written before.

From the protagonist’s tangled emotional landscape, at times colorful and mysterious, Nayoung speaks for brave women of all cultures, who endure prejudice and injustice they face while persevering to find their places in the world, with daunting courage, resilience, and hope.

Therese Young Kim, who lived in old-world Korea before living in new-age America with equal passion, reveals in “Nayoung’s Journey” the paradox and irony of the American Dream, with biting honesty in her unique voice.

Author’s Bio

Born in S. Korea, Therese Young Kim studied English and literature at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and worked at the Lufthansa ticketing office for international travelers before moving to America. She worked as a professional interpreter for over 25 years in New York City before pursuing the craft of writing. Her work has been published in literary journals in Korean, as well as in English, such as Infinity, Rosebud, Poetry Pacific, Tuck Magazine, The Journal of Baha’i Studies, October Hill Magazine, and Soundings East. She has also published a book of poetry and stories, “천송이 목련화 (A Thousand Magnolias)” in Korean. “Nayoung’s Journey” is her first novel in completion in English.


Poetry Reading: Therese Young Kim YouTube Channel

Platform: External link opens in new tab or window

Review of “Nayoung’s Journey” by Christine Salvatore

Nayoung’s Journey opens with stunning imagery that sets the tone for the protagonist’s journey, encapsulating timeless themes of breaking away from restrictive traditions set for women’s lives in Korea resonating with many women’s experiences around the world.

As Nayoung ventures into the new world alone, the narrative shifts to her troubled state in a hospital in the second chapter, introducing the flawed American Dream marred by persistent sexism and racism. This transition not only shocks but also enriches the story’s relevance in contemporary discourse, while her memories of her village soothe both the reader and the character.

The subsequent chapters skillfully portray varied public reactions to Nayoung’s assault in New York City, particularly from an assistant district attorney, highlighting societal power imbalances and prejudices. These reactions fuel Nayoung's internal struggle against injustice and shame, which persists throughout the novel. Meanwhile, the flashbacks to her life in Korea and the Korean War provide a deep insight into her character formation, emphasizing her resilience shaped by historical and personal adversities.

Nayoung’s experiences in Germany offer a counterpoint to her current distress, presenting a period of independence and freedom, and adding depth to her character by showing that her life was not solely defined by sadness. This backdrop sets the stage for understanding her reluctance to return to Korea after her assault, despite deep familial ties revealed later in the story.

In the new American environment, despite not achieving justice, Nayoung’s journey toward her self-reclamation is portrayed with complexity and nuance, culminating in an ending where she emerges with dignity and resolve. The support from characters like Miss Mansfield and Detective Shroeder underscores the theme of allyship in an otherwise harsh reality, further developing a story filled with challenges, but also hope and redemption, in Nayoung’s journey.

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Christine Salvatore is an American Poet, Reviewer, Editor, Writer, and an Educator at Stockton University and Rosemont College.

All Rights Reserved © Therese Young Kim

Thatch-roofed House

Harvest Moon at Dawn

Crock Jars for Kimchi and Sauces

Tea and Pottery House

Flowers and Stone Figures

Latticed window and the kitchen door

Cooking Cauldrons on the Sunken Furnace

Shadow of Eaves over Latticed Window

Tiled Roof and the Stone Wall

Stone Lamps in the Garden

Silk Pouch and White Crochet

Village Shrine

Village Guardian Spirits
Stone Figures
From East to West
Femme en Chapeau by Sellier
Office Windows on Park Avenue
Wooden Plank Water Tower

Snow in Manhattan

Central Park Winter

The Moon over New York City

White Horse of Central Park

Photo Credit: Conrad Monroe

Glossary of Korean words into English from


   Stone Lamps - Please, refer to the first page, Prelude, in this website, for images and the article about the stone lamps.

  “Kisaeng” is a word transliterated from Korean, meaning “entertaining girl or girls,” who were professionally trained to sing, dance or play ancient instruments in old world Korea. Some wrote classic Korean poetry called, “Sijo,” and recited them to the haunting melody of kayagum sound. Despite their high artistry and elegance, however, they belonged to a lower-class  in social strata, who served as entertainers in banquets and ceremonial dinners for aristocrats and high officials. Hwang, Jini (1506-1560) is known to be one of the most legendary Kisaeng girls and an acclaimed poet of her time. She was featured in the Korean movie titled by her name.

   In the changing ethos of time, however, especially following the tragic Korean War and her rapid growth as an industrialized nation, the classic sight of Kisaeng girls in Korea has long been eclipsed by modern social mores of the country. Nonetheless, it may not be a mere coincidence if one finds the footprints of their beauty and haunting legacy still alive in various forms of the Korean traditional performing arts today.

   Following are the three images of Kisaeng girls in classic Hanbok (traditional Korean dress), courtesy of Hyunam Publishing Co. in Seoul, Korea. In the far left stands a Kisaeng girl in her outdoor mode in her hat (called Jonmo), made of bamboo and oiled paper that were worn by lower class women. In the middle in all white is a dancing girl, and in the right she is wearing her formal Hanbok dress.


The above images were selected from the book:
“Korean Costumes during the Chosun Dynasty”
Written and Illustrated by Kwon,Oh-Chang
Hyunam Publishing Co.

Written and compiled by © Therese Young Kim The Author of © Nayoung's Journey All Rights Reserved