Please Look After Mother was a huge hit, so people must be hopeful that Shin Kyung-sook’s forthcoming I’ll Be Right There will be equally as successful. Available on 10 April (according to Amazon) from Other Press, I’m sure we can expect a launch event linked to the London Book Fair (8-10 April). And as Shin will be over for the Fair, maybe there will be a chance to get your copy signed. It’s already available for preorder at Amazon.co.uk, and there are a few reviews online if you google for it.
Shin is the first featured Author of the Week on the British Council Literature website. In the run-up to the London Book Fair they will be featuring all 10 Korean authors, with profiles and Q&As.
Kyung-sook Shin: I’ll Be Right There
Translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
How friendship, European literature, and a charismatic professor defy war, oppression, and the absurd
Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I’ll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to re-live the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief.
Yoon’s formative experiences, which highlight both the fragility and force of personal connection in an era of absolute uncertainty, become immediately palpable. Shin makes the foreign and esoteric utterly familiar: her use of European literature as an interpreter of emotion and experience bridges any gaps between East and West. Love, friendship, and solitude are the same everywhere, as this book makes poignantly clear.