Translated by: Choi Kyong-do
Publisher: Heinemann, 1997.
Link to online store *
Written by one of South Korea’s most popular authors, “The Valley Nearby”is a beautiful tale of a woman attempting to reconcile cultural tradition with her need for individuality and freedom. Living in the isolation of the country, Yun-hee is engaged in a solitary struggle. Her two worlds, that of a rural housewife and that of an advocate for equality, are at odds with each other. Although she reveres a mother who calls her husband “Master,” Yun-hee still hopes that one day things might be different for her daughter.
If nothing much happens in the book, it does not really matter. You can immerse yourself in the characters’ lives, enjoying their struggles with their art and their neighbours as the seasons turn. Kang Sok-Kyong herself was a painter before she became a writer, and her artistic sensibilities show through in this work.
* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site (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 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.