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The Prisoner

Author:
Translated by: ,
Publisher: , 2021
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

A sweeping account of imprisonment—in time, in language, and in a divided country—from Korea’s most acclaimed novelist

In 1993, writer and democracy activist Hwang Sok-yong was sentenced to five years in the Seoul Detention Center. Hwang’s imprisonment forced him to consider the many prisons to which he was subject—of thought, of writing, of Cold War nations, of the heart.

In this capacious memoir, Hwang moves between his imprisonment and his life—as a boy in Pyongyang, as a young activist protesting South Korea’s military dictatorships, as a soldier in the Vietnam War, as a dissident writer—and in so doing, narrates the dramatic revolutions and transformations of one life and of Korean society during the twentieth century.

LKL says:

Hwang Sok-yong’s memoir makes for essential reading as literary history: most of his best-known pre-Guest writings are name-checked and the circumstances and inspiration for their composition described. But many will read the book as social and political history, documenting as it does Hwang’s involvement in the resistance movements protesting about the inequitable treatment of workers under the developmental dictatorship of Park Chung-hee.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-1. Read our review of this book here.

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

* 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.