The Unification Symphony

Philip Rhyu
Outskirts Press (2013)
ISBN: 9781478709275
Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views (2/14)

“The Unification Symphony” by Philip Rhyu is a story of love, hardships and war. Set in 1946, Jung Ho is entered into a national competition by Teacher Jin in hopes to win the grand prize in piano. Jung Ho spots a beautiful young soprano singer in the same competition and seeks her out. They fall in love quickly and are ripped apart just as fast, when they have to return to their lives. 

The Korean War has now begun and the young artists elope. On their mission to become husband and wife they are taken into captivity where they soon plead for their lives and to remain together. Since they are artists and they are the best, they are granted leniency to perform their art in the form of slave labor rather than for the love of music. Trials and tribulations begin to stack up with this couple.

I found that this story was well written and it was beautiful. The problem I have with this book starts with the back of the book. The synopsis exploits the storyline and is a spoiler on its own. Furthermore, each chapter title sums up the chapter and also spoils what is to happen. I found this very odd as I have never come across a title that includes spoilers throughout, almost leaving no reason to actually read the book. 

The genre of the book is labeled as a thriller. I found this too, to be odd because although there are life and death situations written into this story, I would hardly call it a thriller. This could be rather misleading to the general reading public who are looking for a heart racing read. I would recommend “The Unification Symphony” to be listed as a novel. I think that removing the chapter titles, summarizing the synopsis, and re-categorizing the genre, would make this book a perfect ten. 

Philip Rhyu is very passionate about this story and it is clear to me that he loves the art of music as well. His words are well articulated and his heart is on every single page. “The Unification Symphony” is truly a work of art and I would recommend this book to lover’s of classical music and historical war tribulations. 

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