One Thousand Chestnut Trees

One Thousand Chestnut Trees

A Novel of Korea

Written by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781573227384
  • 368 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


The tumultuous history of Korea unfolds in Mira Stout’s debut novel One Thousand Chestnut Trees, a compelling story of a young woman’s search for her Korean heritage–and her own sense of identity. In her journeys, she discovers a legacy left behind by the noble clan from which she is descended–a temple erected by her great-grandfather in defiance of centuries of invasions against Korea, and the one thousand chestnut trees that shield it from view.


“Memorable…will appeal not only to readers interested in Korea, but also to anyone who wants to read about the human condition, its struggle, and ultimately its resilience and triumph.”—The Washington Post
“A sumptuous tale…Every mouthwatering meal, every delicate image serves a purpose in the greater narrative, which chronicles a large swath of Korean history and politics.” —Publishers Weekly
“This marvelous—and very moving—book tells its Korean story stylishly and with great skill.” —William Trevor
“Thoughtful, beguiling, and tinged with romantic regrets.” —Marie Claire
“A welcome revelation…This book has the wisdom to realize that a search for heritage and connection is never emotionally simple, an often blurred by ambiguity…But wiser still is how [One Thousand Chestnut Trees] teaches that the best use of heritage is to understand the ones we love—in ways that exceed mere geography.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“This novel is a history lesson of the best kind, lucid and concerned with emotions as well as facts…. It needs to be read.” —The Spectator (London)
“Stout handles the sweeping scope of her debut novel…with great skill.” —Ms.
“Valuable…The reader truly comes away with a fuller picture not only of what turmoil Koreans have experienced this century but also of what defines Koreanness.” —Chicago Tribune