Translated by: Stephen Epstein
Publisher: Merwin Asia, 2010.
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The Long Road is a moving, elegiac short novel that examines the processes that caused idealistic young Koreans to depart for overseas during the 1990s in the wake of their experiences under Korea’s darker days of military dictatorship in the 1980s. The story centres on a trio of men: Han-Yeong, who although initially attracted to the freedom that Australia seems to promise, comes to feel increasingly ambivalent about his life there; his brother Han-Rim, a former minor singing star who fell afoul of the authorities in Korea for a song seen as critical of the government; and Myeong-U, who had been a student activist in Korea and develops psychological difficulties during his time in custody for protest.
Invited by Han-Rim to take a fishing trip on the boat that he now operates, the three set off for a day on the open sea in ominous weather. As a storm arises, the novel follows the thoughts of Han-Yeong, leading from flashback to ultimate epiphany, as he reflects on his relationship with Australia, his brother, Myeong-U’s troubled history and his anguished memories of Seo-Yeon, the woman he left behind in Korea. Winner of the 1995 Hanguk Ilbo Literary prize, The Long Road is the sole piece of Korean Literature in English that treats the Korean diaspora experience in Australia.
Kim In-Suk is one of the most prominent of Korea’s new wave of female writers born in the early sixties. Recipient of numerous prestigious literary prizes, she is also one of the few writers to deal extensively with the Korean expatriate experience.
Stephen J. Epstein is the Director of the Asian Studies Programme at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He has published widely on contemporary Korean society and literature and has also translated numerous works of Korean and Indonesian fiction.LKL says:
A rewarding novel that draws upon the author's experience as a Korean in Australia as well as her participation in the democratic protest movement in the 1980s
LKL rating:Read our review of this book here. Read a review by Charles Montgomery here. Read a review by Tony Malone here. Entry on Goodreads.com here.