London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Yom Sang-seop: Three Generations

Three Generations cover(Archipelago, 2005)
Translated by Yu Young-nan.
First published in Korean in 1931 as 삼 대 and revised in 1948. score-2score-2score-2score-2score-1

Chronicles the lives of an extended wealthy family in Japanese-occupied Seoul. The old order gradually fades, the vultures descend for the pickings, while an underground of nationalists and socialists struggle to make a difference. Recommended. Available from Seoulselection. See also review in Complete Review.

A very quick footnote. The grandfather’s second wife in this book is referred to as “the Suwon woman”. I took this to be intentionally insulting (she is, after all, a nasty piece of work). However, on reading The Guest by Hwang Sok-yong I found an explanatory note (on p16) that

traditionally, women who married into the family from a different area were referred to by their place of origin rather than their given name.

I guess the original Korean is Suwon-daek.

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