Translated by: Jung Ha-yun
Publisher: Pegasus, 2015.
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The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness is a stark and lyrical work that follows a teen-aged girl who has just arrived in Seoul to work in a factory while struggling to achieve her dream of finishing school and becoming a writer. Shin sets the this complex and nuanced coming of age story against the backdrop of Korea’s industrial sweatshops of the 1970’s and takes on the extreme exploitation, oppression, and urbanization that helped catapult Korea’s economy out of the ashes of the war. Millions of teen-aged girls from the countryside descended on Seoul in the late 1970’s. These girls formed the bottom of the city’s social hierarchy, forgotten and ignored. Richly autobiographical, the novel lays bare the conflict and confusion Shin goes through as she confronts her past and the sweeping social change that has taken place in her homeland over the past half century. The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness has been cited in Korea as one of the most important literary novels of the decade, and cements Shin’s legacy as one of the most insightful and exciting young writers of her generation.
Somewhat over-long, but interesting for its storyline set among the factory girls of late 70s / early 80s Seoul. I can't say it gave me much pleasure though.
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