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Two Stories From Korea: The Wounded & The Abject

Translated by: ,
Publisher: , 2015
Original title: 병신과 머저리 | 벌레 이야기
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

The Wounded” is a compelling first-person narrative about two brothers—a doctor and a painter—marred by trauma. The older brother’s war trauma resurfaces when one of his patients unexpectedly dies during a routine operation He starts writing a novel set during the Korean War. The younger brother secretly reads the novel hoping to reveal the secrets of his brother’s past. Believing the horrors depicted in the story to be real, he imagines his brother’s suffering, causing him to become unable to work on his own paintings. His preoccupation with his brother’s past seems to eclipse any desire on his part to delve into his own.

The Abject” (literally, Worm Story) tells the tale of a local pharmacist whose wife experiences the loss of their child then grapples with that pain through her newfound faith in God. When she is challenged by the concept of forgiveness and justice, she faces a test that her faith and psyche are unable to withstand. “The Abject” was originally published in 1985, and was adapted for the screen in 2007 by Lee Chang-dong as Secret Sunshine starring Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or and won Best Actress for Jeon’s performance at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

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* 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.