The narrator of Anna Kim's novel 'Frozen Time' is a relatively inexperienced researcher working for the Red Cross agency that assists people from the former Yugoslavia in their search for lost relatives. As she helps a man from Kosovo whose wife disappeared during the war there, she is confronted with the gruesome results of the work of forensic archaeologists, medics and anthropologists. She is gradually drawn into the fate of her client on a more personal level and eventually accompanies him to Kosovo, where she sees the results of the conflict at first hand. --
But the documentary aspect is merely the surface of the novel. Beneath it Kim explores, through her narrator, the devastating effect of loss on those left behind, their helplessness as their lives continue in 'frozen time.'
The language of the novel moves from the precise, distancing objectivity of the 'ante-mortem questionnaire' ('avoid feelings, look for facts,') to a powerful and often poetic language reflecting the narrator's struggles to come to terms with her increasing personal involvement, to comprehend an experience which is so far beyond that of everyday life. In fact Kim's language often seems to be asking 'how can this be expressed in words.'
This combination of fact and intense feeling makes 'Frozen Time' a moving exploration of loss, of the search for closure.