Lisa See’s The Island of Sea Women is definitely high up on my favorite reads of 2019. On the surface, it is the story of the dynamics of the friendship between Young-sook and Mi-ja’s. But the novel is more than just ruminating piece about friendship and forgiveness. Its best facet lies on its backdrop, how See drew the rough contours of Jeju Island’s traditions and history. See wove a magical tapestry that is rich in narrative and history.

Interspersed in this rich narrative are wonderful quotes and passages that showcased See’s writing savvy. The quotes, which celebrated motherhood, friendship and womanhood, gave the novel an entirely different complexion and texture. Here are some of the most thought-provoking quotes from this wonderful mix of historical and coming-of-age fiction.

To check out my review on The Island of Sea Women, click here.


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“The sea is better than a mother. You can love your mother, and she still might leave you. You can love or hate the sea, but it will always be there. Forever. The sea has been the center of her life. It has nurtured her and stolen from her, but it has never left.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“Who can name a death that was not tragic? Is there a way for us to find meaning in the losses we’ve suffered? Who can say that one soul has a heavier grievance than another? We were all victims. We need to forgive each other.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“You have been a good mother to your children, but now you must be an even better and stronger mother. Children are hope and joy. On land, you will be a mother. In the sea, you can be a grieving widow. Your tears will be added to the oceans of salty tears that wash in great waves across our planet. This I know. If you try to live, you can live on well.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“How different it is with friendship. No one picks a friend for us; we come together by choice. We are not tied together through ceremony or the responsibility to create a son; we tie ourselves together through moments.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“The sea, it is said, is like a mother. The salt water, the pulse and surges of the current, the magnified beat of your heart, and the muffled sounds reverberating through the water together recall the womb.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“Every women who enters the sea carries a coffin on her back. IN this world, in the undersea world, we tow the burdens of a hard life. We are crossing between life and death every day.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“When we go to the sea, we share the work and the danger. We harvest together, sort together, and sell together, because the sea itself is communal.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women

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“They did this to me. They did that to me. A woman who things that way will never overcome her anger. You are not being punished for your anger. You’re being punished by your anger.”
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women


These are amazingly profound yet powerful words. It is always a pleasure unraveling these treasures while sifting through wonderful texts. How about you fellow reader, what lines from your current reads have made deep impressions on you? Share it in the comment box.

Happy reading!