Translated by: Kim Chi-young
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2009.
Link to online store *
An erotically charged, elegantly written novel that marks the first publication in English of author Kyung-Ran Jo, a literary star in Korea who has earned comparisons to Haruki Murakami.
Emotionally raw and emphatically sensual, Tongue is the story of the demise of an obsessive romance and a woman’s culinary journey toward self-restoration and revenge. When her boyfriend of seven years leaves her for another woman, the celebrated young chef Jung Ji-won shuts down the cooking school she ran from their home and sinks into deep depression, losing her will to cook, her desire to eat, and even her ability to taste. Returning to the kitchen of the I talian restaurant where her career first began, she slowly rebuilds her life, rediscovering her appreciation of food, both as nourishment and as sensual pleasure. She also starts to devise a plan for a final, vengeful act of culinary seduction.
Tongue is a voluptuous, intimate story of a gourmet relying on her food-centric worldview to emerge from heartbreak; a mesmerizing, delicately plotted novel at once shocking and profoundly familiar.
It's a shame this novel isn't better known. A broken relationship, the centrality and sensuousness of food and cooking. And revenge. A great cocktail.
* 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.