7 Contemporary Korean Books To Read | VOGUE India



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Human acts is a personal and political novel by the celebrated and award-winning Korean author Han Kang. Based on the Gwangju Uprising of 1980, when the student uprising in her hometown turned violent, the author takes us through the brutal massacres the state has perpetrated against its own people. But the novel is very different from other books and movies made about the event in that it doesn’t take readers through the historical events leading up to the massacre. Instead, Kang starts in the aftermath – which in no way signals the end of the violence. The bodies in morgues and the survivors all bear witness to this cruelty in separate chapters.

Like the South Korean movie, a taxi driver, or the K-Drama Youth of May made you curious about South Korean history and Gwangju uprising, this novel is for you. Also by the author: The Vegetarian.

violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, Feminist Press, 2022

Translated from Korean by Anton Huro

Written by the acclaimed bestselling author please take care of mom violets is the story of a 22-year-old girl named San who lives a lonely life in Seoul and finds a job in a flower shop. The novel opens with a compelling account of her early rural life with a mother who regrets her life choices, a grandmother who regrets that San’s mother is her daughter-in-law, San’s absent father who left for greener pastures and her only friend. name. A single moment of intimacy with Namae, which ended in violent rejection, haunts the current San in 1990s Seoul when she falls in love with a photographer, obsessively copies passages from her favorite book, and gains a foothold in this flower shop. The novel is a formidable text about urban loneliness, repressed queer desires and a haunting observation of the rapidly changing country at the turn of the century. Originally written in 2001, this soon-to-be-released translation is a tragic yet moving piece of fiction by Korea’s best writers that should be on your spring-summer reading list.

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