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dd’s Umbrella

Author:
Translated by:
Publisher: , 2024
Original title: 디디의 우산, 2019
Link to online store *

What was it they were battling? Their smallness, of course, their smallness.

A delicate and arresting queer novel from one of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary writers.

d, a nonbinary gig worker living in Seoul, briefly escapes the grasp of isolation when they meet dd, only to be ensnared by grief when dd dies in a car accident. Meanwhile, the world around them reckons with the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster that left more than 300 dead.

As formally inventive as it is evocative, dd’s Umbrella is composed of twin novellas. The first is told from the perspective of d, and the second from the perspective of a writer researching a book they may never write. Both figures dwell in society’s margins—queer, working-class, and part of nontraditional family structures.

As people across Korea come together to protest the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry disaster, and to impeach the right-wing president in office, the novel examines how progressive movements coexist with social exclusion, particularly of women and sexual minorities, invisibilised in service of the ‘greater cause’.

dd’s Umbrella is a meditative and off-centre novel about mourning and revolution.

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or Bookshop.org for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to Bookshop.org and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.