Translated by: Elizabeth Haejin Yoon
Publisher: Dalkey Archive, 2013.
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Well before her death in 2011, Park Wan-Suh had established herself as a canonical figure in Korean literature. Her work–often based upon her own personal experiences, and showing keen insight into divisive social issues from the Korean partition to the position of women in Korean society–has touched readers for over forty years. In this collection, meditations upon life in old age come to the fore–at its best, accompanied by great beauty and compassion; at its worst by a cynicism that nonetheless turns a bitter smile upon the changing world.
I came to this collection with scepticism, but was won over by the wisdom in the stories that gently revealed itself to me. I was not expecting these stories to have anything to say to me, but I became fascinated by the psychology of Park’s characters and by the voice of the author herself. The familiarity of some of the characters and the way they behave and react (human traits are universal, regardless of country or context) reached out to me across the age, gender and cultural gap. They moved me deeply.
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