Translated by: Emily Yae Won
Publisher: Tilted Axis, 2018.
Link to online store *
‘That’s how it generally is with Aeja’s stories. They’re as potent as a putrid peach. Listening to her words your head starts to droop with their sticky juice trickling down your ears, until all you can do is succumb to the saccharine flow.’
From one of South Korea’s most acclaimed young authors comes the story of two sisters, Sora and Nana. When Sora was ten years old, and Nana was nine, their father died in a freak accident at the factory where he worked, his body sucked under a huge cogwheel, crushed beyond recognition. Their mother Aeja, numb with grief, gives in to torpor, developing an unhealthy obsession with the paradoxical violence implicit in life.
Now adults, Sora finds herself dreaming of the past when she discovers that Nana is pregnant. Her initial reaction is shock though they live together, she never even realised her younger sister had a lover and Nana’s icy response to her attempt at being considerate (‘You hate this, so don’t pretend like I m some poor pregnant woman you have to pity’) drives a wedge between the two. Can Naghi the boy who shared their childhood, and the simple, nourishing meals cooked by his mother help the sisters break free of Aeja’s worldview in which life is ultimately futile and love is always doomed?
A delicate stylist with an unflinching social gaze, in I’ll Go On Hwang Jungeun has crafted a poignant novel with an uncanny ear for the unspoken secrets and heartaches buried beneath daily life and family ritual. Above all, it is a stunning exploration of the intensity of early bonds and the traces they leave on us as we grow up.
More straightforward than One Hundred Shadows, I'll Go On is an enjoyable read that introduces us to relationship between two sisters and the boy who grew up next door to them.
* 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.