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These nine stories span half a century of contemporary writing in Korea (1970s–2010s), bringing together some of the most famous twentieth-century women writers with a new generation of young, bold voices. Their work explores a world not often seen in the West, taking us into the homes, families, lives and psyches of Korean women, men, and children. In the earliest of the s These nine stories span half a century of contemporary writing in Korea (1970s–2010s), bringing together some of the most famous twentieth-century women writers with a new generation of young, bold voices. Their work explores a world not often seen in the West, taking us into the homes, families, lives and psyches of Korean women, men, and children. In the earliest of the stories, Pak Wan-so, considered the elder stateswoman of contemporary Korean fiction, opens the door into two "Identical Apartments" where sisters-in-law, bound as much by competition as love, struggle to live with their noisy, extended families. O Chong-hui, who has been compared to Joyce Carol Oates and Alice Munro, examines a day in the life of a woman after she is released from a mental institution, while younger writers, such as Kim Sagwa, Han Yujoo and Ch'on Un-yong explore violence, biracial childhood, and literary experimentation. These stories will sometimes disturb and sometimes delight, as they illuminate complex issues in Korean life and literature. Internationally acclaimed translators Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton have won several awards and fellowships for the numerous works of Korean literature they have translated into English. Featuring these authors and stories: Pak Wan-so: "Identical Apartments" Kim Chi-won: "Almaden" So Yong-un: "Dear Distant Love" O Chong-hui: "Wayfarer" Kong Son-ok: "The Flowering of Our Lives" Kim Ae-ran: "The Future of Silence" Han Yujoo: "I Am the Scribe—Or Am I" Kim Sagwa: "Today Is One of Those The-More-You-Move-the-Stranger-It-Gets Days, and It's Simply Amazing" Ch'on Un-yong: "Ali Skips Rope"


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These nine stories span half a century of contemporary writing in Korea (1970s–2010s), bringing together some of the most famous twentieth-century women writers with a new generation of young, bold voices. Their work explores a world not often seen in the West, taking us into the homes, families, lives and psyches of Korean women, men, and children. In the earliest of the s These nine stories span half a century of contemporary writing in Korea (1970s–2010s), bringing together some of the most famous twentieth-century women writers with a new generation of young, bold voices. Their work explores a world not often seen in the West, taking us into the homes, families, lives and psyches of Korean women, men, and children. In the earliest of the stories, Pak Wan-so, considered the elder stateswoman of contemporary Korean fiction, opens the door into two "Identical Apartments" where sisters-in-law, bound as much by competition as love, struggle to live with their noisy, extended families. O Chong-hui, who has been compared to Joyce Carol Oates and Alice Munro, examines a day in the life of a woman after she is released from a mental institution, while younger writers, such as Kim Sagwa, Han Yujoo and Ch'on Un-yong explore violence, biracial childhood, and literary experimentation. These stories will sometimes disturb and sometimes delight, as they illuminate complex issues in Korean life and literature. Internationally acclaimed translators Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton have won several awards and fellowships for the numerous works of Korean literature they have translated into English. Featuring these authors and stories: Pak Wan-so: "Identical Apartments" Kim Chi-won: "Almaden" So Yong-un: "Dear Distant Love" O Chong-hui: "Wayfarer" Kong Son-ok: "The Flowering of Our Lives" Kim Ae-ran: "The Future of Silence" Han Yujoo: "I Am the Scribe—Or Am I" Kim Sagwa: "Today Is One of Those The-More-You-Move-the-Stranger-It-Gets Days, and It's Simply Amazing" Ch'on Un-yong: "Ali Skips Rope"

30 review for The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women is a recent (2016) update of an original 1997 anthology of short stories, [Wayfarer] adding 4 new and more recently active authors, and, perhaps a little disappointingly, losing 3 others from the original to make space. This makes for a slightly odd combination - for those who have read Wayfarer, half the book is duplicated, and for those who haven't some worthwhile stories are lost. Nevertheless, the resulting book, on a stand-alone basis, is an ex The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women is a recent (2016) update of an original 1997 anthology of short stories, [Wayfarer] adding 4 new and more recently active authors, and, perhaps a little disappointingly, losing 3 others from the original to make space. This makes for a slightly odd combination - for those who have read Wayfarer, half the book is duplicated, and for those who haven't some worthwhile stories are lost. Nevertheless, the resulting book, on a stand-alone basis, is an excellent overview of Korean women's fiction over the last 45 years. With Han Kang having taken the inaugural version of the new format Man Booker International and Kyung Sook-shin having achieved best-seller status, one might argue that fiction by contemporary Korean women in English translation is already relatively high profile, but that is largely thanks to anthologies such as this that bring new writers to the attention not just of readers, but also of publishers. And the low profile of writers such as the magnificent Bae Suah suggest there is still much work to do. The anthology has been assembled and translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, who have over the decades done a magnificent and highly valuable service in bringing Korean literature to English speakers, particularly via anthologies. One small pet peeve is the use the McCune-Reischauer system of romanisation, one that to me seems rather pointless as it makes confusing use of apostrophes, and uses diacritics that don't exist in spoken English. One may as well learn the Korean script, indeed the Fultons observe "Hangŭl, the Korean alphabet, is one of the most precise phonetic scripts in the world; its rudiments can be grasped in a matter of hours" (Or hangeul as modern romanisation would have it.) They offer a slightly odd dedication as well, not for what it says but rather for what it hints at between the lines with the 'once upon a time': "Two of the authors represented herein, Pak Wan-sŏ and Kim Chi-wŏn, have passed on since Wayfarer was released in 1997. Both women exemplified the mutual trust and respect that, once upon a time, characterized relations between Korean writers and their translators. It is with deep affection that we dedicate this volume to the memory of these two gracious individuals" The authors and stories included in this book, with dates of original Korean publication are (my / Goodreads romanisation): Oh Jung-hee, Wayfarer, 1983 Kim Jiwon, Almaden, 1979 Seo Yeongeun, Dear Distant Love, 1983 Pak Wansuh, Identical Apartments, 1974 Gong Seonok, The Flowering Of Our Lives, 1994 and the new stories: Han Yujoo, I Ain’t Necessarily Sp, 2012 Kim Sagwa, It’s One of Those The-More-I’m-in-Motion-the-Weirder-it-Gets Days and It’s Really Blowing My Mind, 2010 Cheon Un-yeong, Ali Skips Rope, 2008 Kim Ae-ran, The Future of Silence, 2012 Relatively few of the authors had novels in English (my preferred form) although in part this reflects the relatively higher importance, versus English, of the short story in Korean literature. Of those I know there are (as at March 2021) – to my point above about the importance of anthologies, the last three of were published subsequent to this collection: Pak Wansuh: Who Ate Up All the Shinga?: An Autobiographical Novel Oh Jung-hee: The Bird Han Yujoo: The Impossible Fairy Tale Kim Sagwa: Mina Kim Ae-ran My Brilliant Life As to the stories here: Wayfarer is an fascinating psychological study of a women who has returned from a 2 year spell in hospital, her husband having left her (seemingly at her, resigned, suggestion), taking the children. She would frantically rummage through the house for some trace of them. It was as if she wanted to obliterate all the time she had been away. The stickers on the wall, the long, black strands of glossy hair in the hairbrush, the handkerchief with the embroidered corner she discovered these and other traces, but all they did was make her powerfully, vividly aware of the enormous gap that now separated her from them. Even her (former) friends are uninterested to hear from her: To Min and her friends, the story about her was merely a single day two years before, and rather awkward when they do meet: everyone asked about her health. Is the gunpowder in a safe place? was how it sounded to her. Gradually we find out why she was in hospital but the delayed revelation isn't so much the strength of this story as the isolation of someone, particularly a woman, who doesn't neatly fit with society's norms. Almaden is a rather more straightforward story. It is set in New York and the female protagonist runs a wine and spirit shop. It opens: The young man usually dropped by the woman’s West Side wine and spirit shop around 5 p.m. for a bottle of Almaden Chablis. Trapped in a rather loveless marriage, she wonders if her husband treats others with the same disdain he does her. And she increasingly fantasises about this particular customer until one day he speaks to her directly: Can you trust me? His voice shook. It sounded distinctly higher than usual. Except it isn't what she hopes (although rather what the reader guesses). Dear Distant Love tells of Mun-ja, almost 40 and a spinster (in England that term would typically be used for an older person but in a Korean cultural context it works for any unmarried person much over 30), working in a publishing company where the other employees, mostly young graduates, come and go: The young excluded Mun-ja from their conversations. What pride could they take from having an old maid as a co-worker who had always occupied the bottom of the totem pole at this insignificant publishing house, where they had no future even if they stayed for the rest of their careers? Everything about her was out of date, the clothing redeemed only by the lack of holes: her overcoat with its frayed cuffs, the ballet flats she wore summer and winter, the short, wide-cut dark gray pants that left her ankles sticking out, the lumpy socks with their layer of lint, the handbag smelling of her lunch whenever she pulled it from her desk drawer. They liked to think that a frigid wind whirled at Mun-ja’s back as she hunched over the proofs on her desk. They imagined coarse gooseflesh sprouting on her chin. Except Mun-ja has a secret of sorts... She bit her lip gently, stifling an urge to burst out laughing. What a splendid job she had done fooling everyone! None of them knew her silence originated from an absolute confidence that she could live under any conditions, a self-assurance that had been forming in an ongoing contest with a higher power, far above the plane of their existence, a confidence that hardened with each step she took along a solitary road that was longer than they could ever imagine. Her road - a rather masochistic and overwrought relationship with a married man who doesn't treat her well, yet the worse he treats her, the more her almost religious zeal to please him increases. This story felt a little overwrought if treated as matter-of-fact, but more powerful read as a parable of the suffering of women in unequal relationships in then Korean society. Identical Apartments opens with the married female narrator and her husband rather awkwardly living with her parents. Eventually they save up enough to get an apartment of their own as society dictates they should, only for her to find that (Ch’ŏri’s mom being her neighbour): All around us the apartments are the same, as much so as mine and Ch’ŏri’s mom’s. Sure, there are differences one apartment might have a washer, someone else might have a piano, but no one enjoys these advantages long enough to indulge in a sense of superiority. Because someone soon copies her. Eventually coveting one's neighbours goods extends to coveting her husband … The Flowering of Our Lives was one I struggled with. Our narrator is a widow having difficulties both with her relationship with her 8yo daughter and her memories of her relationship, when she was a youth, with her own mother, and in each case physically absence herself, taking solace in drink. The narrator is much the most complex of the characters in the collection but I found it hard to follow her thoughts. This, from which the story takes its title, is a typical passage: I could finally look at my daughter as once again she resigned herself to the presence of her brazen mom, despondent precisely because of her mom’s lack of despair. Would I grow flustered in her presence? Or would I be indifferent? Was I running away from not having a reason, and toward having a reason? Is that what drinking does to me? I dare to christen that lack of a reason ‘the flowering of our lives’. First my daughter showers me with arrows of criticism. And she opposes me by herself. Perhaps one of these days when Mom is intoxicated by the scent of those flowers, my daughter will suffocate and the next moment be dead and gone. That is something quite possible to imagine. I ain't necessarily so offers a complete change of style and quality as we move into the next generation of Korean writers. Like Han Yujoo's novel, An Impossible Fairy Tale, this has at its heart word-play (In Korean 말 (mal) can be a horse but also a word), leading to obvious translation difficulties, albeit ones the Fultons manage extremely well. The story begins: My left hand is the king, my right hand the king’s scribe. A refrain repeated throughout this highly rhythmic and abstract story. A typical passage reads, set as the king (or author's left hand) is about to leave for his summer palace: The king’s men having taken the king’s horses, the king is left with no horse. The scribe having mis-recorded the king’s words as the king’s horses, the king is left with no word. And so the king’s departure, his progress, his arrival are placed on indefinite hold. For the king there’s no summer. All at once words are released from the mouths of the jesters and the retainers, the ladies-in-waiting and the ministers, and that very instant my left hand speaks to my right. “For this I want your head.” “For that you get eternal silence.” So went the summer and so went the winter, my left hand the king and my right hand the king’s scribe. I haven’t decided my second book’s title. So goes today and so goes tomorrow, my left hand the king and my right hand the king’s scribe. I still can’t divest myself of my hopeless belief that today will be followed by tomorrow. I still haven’t decided my third book’s title, which makes me wonder if I’ve decided the title of my first. Perhaps my first book and my second will be The Impossible Fairy Tale, perhaps my third book and my fourth as well Wonderful and worth reading the collection for this alone. It’s One of Those The-More-I’m-in-Motion-the-Weirder-it-Gets Days and It’s Really Blowing My Mind maintains the high quality. Kim Sagwa's story has a well educated and ostensibly successful company worker increasingly raging at the reality of his life: The last few years I’ve spent more time in this conference room than anywhere else. We’re gathered here now, a collection of squirming beings that somehow manage to resemble people. A’s mouth is moving. I’ve been working with her on a project for three months. The day I met her she introduced herself as a branding consultant, and damned if her business card didn’t say exactly that. And then she launched into a spiel about all her whoopity-do degrees, parading her education. But what I saw in her eyes was fear. I felt that same fear …All I see are the eyes of an animal frozen with fear. Those are the eyes I always see. … What if I stripped A naked and beat her with the cactus on the far right, the one that looks like a club. Her glittering golden nail polish does that to me—every time they reflect the light those fingernails do a number inside my head. I want to rip out each of those fingernails. But instead I feed my imagination. He leaves that evening, determined not to return, but increasingly his actions start to follow his imagination, at times in rather surreal fashion. Ali Skips Rope begins with the protagonist trying to face down some school bullies: My name is Ali. Ali the Great. What’s even greater than my name is my father’s foresight in choosing it. If not for my name I’d be quaking in my shoes this very instant, I wouldn’t know what to think.. We gradually learn the backstory of how she got her name, the ways she trains with Ali-style skipping to, not always successfully, try to beat the bullies, and we also meet her grandmother "Jeannine", now elderly and senile but who comes to life when she is called by the stage name under which she once danced. A charming story if less innovative than the other modern writers showcased. The Future of Silence is a very impressive end to the collection, a dystopian story about language and loss. It is narrated by the spirit of the breath and energy released from a language at the moment of its extinction. I am a gigantic eye, a huge mouth. I am given life for a day, a brief span in which I look back over my previous life. I am both singular and plural, a collective and its parts, a fog bank and its separate wisps. I am the synthesis of all that helps me to be me, and the weight of the silence that makes such syntheses erase themselves. I am the volume of absence, the density of loss, the force generated when a light flickers on only to be snuffed out. And is set in the Museum of Moribund Languages, established with the goal of preserving dying languages and educating the world about their importance by 'The Centre'. Reading this on the Korean island of Jeju, which seems to have a museum for everything (https://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2...) this raised a smile: The Center expected tourists to bring in enough revenue to offset expenses and debt. But not many visitors traveled to this distant, dust-swept place. If it were a museum for automobiles or dinosaur fossils, then maybe. But the Center's agenda for the museum may have a more sinister side: The Center established this complex to protect and raise awareness of languages throughout the world that face extinction. However, the outcome proved to be the opposite, and perhaps that was The Center’s covert wish they mourned in order to forget, praised in order to disdain, commemorated in order to kill off. Highly recommended

  2. 5 out of 5

    Charles Montgomery

    Immediately replaces "Questioning Minds" as the essential collection of Korean Fiction by women. 9 stories, 8 of which are utterly compelling (The 9th is a kind of trifle). If you have read "Wayfarer: New Fiction by Korean Women" you will recognise half of these stories, but as that is fairly unknown and now out of print (still available on Amazon), this is likely to be most reader's first exposure to these works. Park Wan-suh’s "Identical Apartments" is a cold appraisal of the Korean rat-race fo Immediately replaces "Questioning Minds" as the essential collection of Korean Fiction by women. 9 stories, 8 of which are utterly compelling (The 9th is a kind of trifle). If you have read "Wayfarer: New Fiction by Korean Women" you will recognise half of these stories, but as that is fairly unknown and now out of print (still available on Amazon), this is likely to be most reader's first exposure to these works. Park Wan-suh’s "Identical Apartments" is a cold appraisal of the Korean rat-race for women. O Chon-hui’s "Wayfarer" and Kim Sagwa’s "It’s One of Those the-more-I’m-in-Motion-the-Weirder-it-Gets Days, and It’s Really Blowing My Mind", are brutal in two entirely different ways, but fun reads. Kim Chi-won’s "Almaden" and Cheon Un-yeong’s delightful, "Ali Skips Rope" examine the positions of two outsiders in society. Kong Seon-ok contributes "The Flowering of our Lives", a kind of Korean buddy-story between two unlikely allies navigating difficult circumstances with soju and sisterhood. "Dear Distant Love" is a bit too traditional of a “wronged woman” Korean narrative for my taste, but I imagine it will resonate with other readers. The collection is concluded by Kim Ae-ran’s excellent "The Future of Silence", which in increasingly surreal form, celebrates the “vitality and dynamism” which an increasingly modern world snuffs out without intent or understanding.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James F

    This anthology of nine short stories was the last Korean reading for the World Literature Group on Goodreads, which is moving on to Arabic fiction in March. Like the previous anthology I read this year, Modern Korean Fiction, it was co-edited by Bruce Fulton; this one was co-edited and translated with his wife, Jo-Chan Fulton. The first story, "Wayfarer" by O Chŏng-hŭi, was also in the other anthology. The stories date from the 1980s through the first decade of the twenty-first century, and are This anthology of nine short stories was the last Korean reading for the World Literature Group on Goodreads, which is moving on to Arabic fiction in March. Like the previous anthology I read this year, Modern Korean Fiction, it was co-edited by Bruce Fulton; this one was co-edited and translated with his wife, Jo-Chan Fulton. The first story, "Wayfarer" by O Chŏng-hŭi, was also in the other anthology. The stories date from the 1980s through the first decade of the twenty-first century, and are in the order of publication. All nine stories are essentially about the alienation of women in a still fairly traditional society; the first five stories are fairly realistic psychological stories in a more or less traditional narrative style; the last four are more experimental in various ways. "Wayfarer" is about a woman who is ostracized because of an event in her past; "Almaden" by Kim Chi-wŏn is about an unhappily married salesclerk who fantasizes about a customer; "Dear Distant Love" by Sŏ Yŏng-ŭn is about a woman in a masochistic relationship with a toxic married man; "Identical Apartments" by Pak Wan-sŏ (also spelled Park Wan-suh, by whom I have previously read a book of stories and a novel) was the best of the earlier stories, about conformity and competition, and "The Flowering of Our Lives" by Kong Sŏn-ok is about a woman and her daughter who both rebel in different ways. The more experimental stories begin with "I Ain't Necessarily So" by Han Yujoo, a sort of surrealist fantasy which I thought was the least successful of the nine (although since there is much wordplay it might have been very good in the original Korean); it's followed by Kim Sagwa's "It's One of Those The-More-I'm-in-Motion-the-Weirder-It-Gets Days and It's Really Blowing My Mind" is about a white-collar worker in a boring job who fantasizes about violence, and it's ambiguous whether the later violence is real or imagined; then Ch'ŏn Un-yŏng's "Ali Skips Rope", my favorite of the nine, about a mixed-race person whose father is a boxer and named her/him after Mohammed Ali (the protagonist is biologically female but identifies as a boy); and finally the title story, "The Future of Silence" is another very good and very experimental story, a bitter satire told from the perspective of the spirit of a dead language after the death of the last speaker in a museum of dying cultures. These are all good stories and this anthology was a good ending to a year of very interesting readings from authors I might otherwise never have known about (of all the books we read, only one, The Vegetarian, was in the library without my requesting it.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Armstrong

    Yet another Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton anthology of modern Korean short stories by woman authors. The editors put it together by taking an older anthology, Wayfarer: New Writing by Korean Women (1997), discarding three stories and adding four news ones. To my mind it is a revised edition of the original work and not a new work and should have retained the original title – and ideally all original contents too as well as the additions. I am always troubled when a later edition of an anthology disca Yet another Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton anthology of modern Korean short stories by woman authors. The editors put it together by taking an older anthology, Wayfarer: New Writing by Korean Women (1997), discarding three stories and adding four news ones. To my mind it is a revised edition of the original work and not a new work and should have retained the original title – and ideally all original contents too as well as the additions. I am always troubled when a later edition of an anthology discards works present in previous editions. But what I would really have preferred is a completely new anthology focusing completely on women’s writing of the 21st century. The four new stories in this collection – all published after 2000, all by authors born after 1970 (all but one after 1980) – give an idea of this writing, showing a mixture of diversity of forms and common themes, but it would be nice a broader selection, perhaps eight items to match the count of the original edition or even more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This collection is worth the read, but largely forgettable. I did appreciate the skilled hand in selecting these pieces as representative of contemporary Korean fiction by female authors, but I found that after I read a story I could barely remember it. There were only three that really stuck with me and one was because I wasn't too keen on bits of the translation. Most of the stories are expertly translated, if a bit awkward in dialogue sections, but for some reason Pak Wan-so's really rubbed This collection is worth the read, but largely forgettable. I did appreciate the skilled hand in selecting these pieces as representative of contemporary Korean fiction by female authors, but I found that after I read a story I could barely remember it. There were only three that really stuck with me and one was because I wasn't too keen on bits of the translation. Most of the stories are expertly translated, if a bit awkward in dialogue sections, but for some reason Pak Wan-so's really rubbed me the wrong way even though I was enjoying the plot of a housewife feeling absorbed into the one-ness and homogeneity of keeping-up-with-the-joneses apartment block living. The story that I found the most interesting was Chon Un-Yong's which might have had an added impact of reading it soon after the passing of Muhammad Ali whose legacy plays an integral part to this exquisitely blended story of racism, sexism and 'miscegenation'.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Hoefer

    Short fiction? check. Depressing? check. Atompsheric? check, check. Plots that don't really go anywhere? Big ol' check! All my sweet spots in one collection. Short fiction? check. Depressing? check. Atompsheric? check, check. Plots that don't really go anywhere? Big ol' check! All my sweet spots in one collection.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Gebhardt

    A great collection of Korean women's writing. Some of the stories were odd and/or disturbing. Some didn't really speak to me. Some were excellent. My favorites: Identical Apartments, by Pak Wan-so Ali Skips Rope, by Chon Un-yong The Future of Silence, by Kim Ae-ran. This last one was beautiful and sad, especially for language lovers. The best title award goes to: "It's one of those the-more-I'm-in-motion-the-weirder-it-gets days, and it's really blowing my mind". Although the story was a tad too d A great collection of Korean women's writing. Some of the stories were odd and/or disturbing. Some didn't really speak to me. Some were excellent. My favorites: Identical Apartments, by Pak Wan-so Ali Skips Rope, by Chon Un-yong The Future of Silence, by Kim Ae-ran. This last one was beautiful and sad, especially for language lovers. The best title award goes to: "It's one of those the-more-I'm-in-motion-the-weirder-it-gets days, and it's really blowing my mind". Although the story was a tad too disturbing for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gaia

    I got this book as a present from a friend, and it surprised me with its amazing stories. It is a really nice collection of short stories by Korean female writers that are captivating, varied and seem well-translated. It has definitely made me interested in reading more literature by these authors!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Burgos

    "There, I did it, I endured. When it comes to endurance, I'm a pro. Life is all about endurance. Some people have a strange notion about life- they actually enjoy it. But who in the hell would enjoy such pain as I'm experiencing?" "There, I did it, I endured. When it comes to endurance, I'm a pro. Life is all about endurance. Some people have a strange notion about life- they actually enjoy it. But who in the hell would enjoy such pain as I'm experiencing?"

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mallee Stanley

    Some of these short stories were intriguing; others I just couldn't get into. Some of these short stories were intriguing; others I just couldn't get into.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Piña

    Qué voces

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cyn Morales

    Todas son muy buenas historias y una mirada interesante de autoras que de otra manera, no hubiera conocido.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A nice set of short stories. My favourite was the last one: The Future of Silence The translations sounded smooth to me

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    As each story ended I was forced to pause and let it resonate. Fantastic collection! 2018 Reading Women Challenge: A short story collection

  15. 4 out of 5

    Qiu Ting

    I am going to be honest with myself. I only enjoyed the first story...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This is a collection of short stories. A few of them were pretty interesting, but others just confused me and were a struggle to get through.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Smith

    This was the February BOTM pick. This was a book of Korean short stories originally published in 1989, and had been expanded and republished in 2016. O Chŏng-hŭi: “Wayfarer”: I think there was so much more to this story that we missed somehow. Besides the fact that she was accused of killing her lover because she was in her slip. And it sounded like she asked for the divorce not him? Did she ask for one because she was tired of the accusations? And if he didn’t want it why did he abandon her in t This was the February BOTM pick. This was a book of Korean short stories originally published in 1989, and had been expanded and republished in 2016. O Chŏng-hŭi: “Wayfarer”: I think there was so much more to this story that we missed somehow. Besides the fact that she was accused of killing her lover because she was in her slip. And it sounded like she asked for the divorce not him? Did she ask for one because she was tired of the accusations? And if he didn’t want it why did he abandon her in the mental hospital? And what happened with her daughter? Why did the daughter say “mommy forgive us what we did was a crime”. Then later she said her daughter was a liar? I need to re-read the story. Kim Chi-wŏn: “Almaden”: I agree the stories do not wrap up at the end...very strange. Did anyone catch the hunger refrence? “She felt as if he had the soul of a beggar; he was a hungry man who could never be satisfied.” Its not as predominate as in the first story, but it was there. Maybe I’m just looking now. Sŏ Yŏng-ŭn: “Dear Distant Love”: Her aunt had the right of it. Wow was she brainwashed or what. Staying with and for that asshat! What was the suffering supposed to lead her to? And why didn’t she take her kid and marry the lawyer or go to America? Ugh that was awful. I mean the writing was good, but man was it bleak Pak Wan-sŏ: “Identical Apartments”: Oh my god this story was so boring, I couldn’t stand the author...she was a jealous petty bitch. The whole story was tedious and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. And tha pact that she pittied her husband was awful too Kong Sŏn-ok: “The Flowering of Our Lives”: I think she is a lesbian that wants to be a prostitute but isn’t? She the hunger and food was predominant again Han Yujoo: “I Ain’t Necessarily So”: I have no idea what the point of that story was, all I can say is thank god it was short! Kim Sagwa: “It’s One of Those the-More-I’m-in-Motion-the-Weirder-It-Gets Days, and It’s Really Blowing My Mind”: Ok this was a weird one! Was he dreaming, did he really go postal and murder those people? Were we inside the head of a schizophrenic? All the death happened at diner tables...and the sister became a pig? Ch’ŏn Un-yŏng: “Ali Skips Rope”: Ok so I didn’t realize until the end that the narrator was a young girl. It made more sense then. This one seemed to make the most sense of all the ones we have read so far. Kim Ae-ran: “The Future of Silence”: This one made my eyes glaze over, and I realized halfway through that I wasn’t retaining any of it and I had to start over. This was depressing, and sad. And very sci-fi. For additional reviews please see my blog at www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Favourite stories: Wayfarer, Dear Distant Love, Identical Apartments

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela Bailey

    I didn't have time to finish this one, but I'm not sure I would have anyway. The stories are beautifully written, and certainly give some insight into Korean women and culture of the past. But I honestly found it quite depressing with no resolutions. But if that doesn't bother you, it is an interesting read. I didn't have time to finish this one, but I'm not sure I would have anyway. The stories are beautifully written, and certainly give some insight into Korean women and culture of the past. But I honestly found it quite depressing with no resolutions. But if that doesn't bother you, it is an interesting read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    A fascinating introduction to contemporary Korean fiction. All of the stories are good, but I particularly recommend the stories by Kim Sagwa and Kim Ae-ran.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tay

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  23. 4 out of 5

    World Literature Today

    This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the January 2017 issue of World Literature Today Magazine. https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/... This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the January 2017 issue of World Literature Today Magazine. https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  25. 5 out of 5

    Betty Asma

  26. 5 out of 5

    Srujana

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bananna_anna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Washburn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yessy Onac

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

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