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The Place Where the Harmonium Was (Bi-lingual, Vol 12 – Women)

Translated by:
Publisher: , 2012
Original title: 풍금이 있던 자리, 2003
Link to online store *

This is a bilingual edition of award winning author Shin Kyung-sook (신경숙)’s The Place Where the Harmonium Was (풍금이 있던 자리).

“In that context, the blind calf in the story represents the vulnerablility of the weak, including that of the narrator herself, and reminds us of the universality of the human condition which causes all of us to crave more love and care. The mother cow that suckles her blind calf and the mother magpie that fetches food for its chicks are ideals to which the suffering characters in this story are supposed to aspire. Indeed, such scenes seem to be the wellspring of Shin’s creative power” – From the Afterword

“Shin Kyung-sook writes intimate and heartwarming narratives that reveal the origin of the oppressive and profound pain in our hearts. This pain is embodied in a beautiful tradgedy that Shin describes in meticulous detail with her characteristically slow and repetitive narrative style, weaving in such devices as defamiliarization, tension, and the slow reversal of time.” – Kim Chi-su (literary critic)

LKL says:

A very moving and sensitive portrayal of a young woman’s dilemma in deciding whether to elope with her married lover, let down to some extent by stylistic matters. But don’t let that deter you.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-0score-0. Read our review of this book here.

Read a review by Charles Montgomery here. Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or 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 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.