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Other titles in the Weatherhead Books on Asia series:
Lost Souls (Weatherhead Books on Asia)by Hwang Sunwon
Synopses & Reviews
These captivating short stories portray three major periods in modern Korean history: the forces of colonial modernity during the late 1930s; the postcolonial struggle to rebuild society after four decades of oppression, emasculation, and cultural exile (1945 to 1950); and the attempt to reconstruct a shattered land and a traumatized nation after the Korean War.
Lost Souls echoes the exceptional work of China's Shen Congwen and Japan's Kawabata Yasunari. Modernist narratives set in the metropolises of Tokyo and Pyongyang alternate with starkly realistic portraits of rural life. Surrealist tales suggest the unsettling sensation of colonial domination, while stories of the outcast embody the thrill and terror of independence and survival in a land dominated by tradition and devastated by war.
Written during the chaos of 1945, Booze recounts a fight between Koreans for control of a former Japanese-owned distillery. Toad relates the suffering created by hundreds of thousands of returning refugees, and stories from the 1950s confront the catastrophes of the Korean War and the problematic desire for autonomy. Visceral and versatile, Lost Souls is a classic work on the possibilities of transition that showcases the innovation and craftsmanship of a consummate--and widely celebrated--storyteller.
"In this evocative collection, Korean novelist Hwang (1915 — 2000) depicts the struggle of everyman to survive in tumultuous mid — 20th-century Korea. In 'Bulls,' Pau is riddled with guilt after seeing men brutalized and imprisoned by a Japanese constable collecting grain tax. The darkly ironic 'Booze' follows Chunho, a devoted steward of the Nakamura distillery in Pyongyang, as he fights to maintain control after property is redistributed following the liberation of Korea from Japanese occupation in 1945. In the title story, Sogi witnesses his childhood love, Suni, sold as a concubine by her family. Sogi and Suni run away together only to discover that their love is true yet doomed. A distinction between North and South Korea in a contemporary sense is not obvious in Hwang's stories, although the Korean War is the focal point of 'Voices,' in which a disabled veteran returns home incapable of reintegrating into his rural society. Hwang beautifully depicts the lives of ordinary individuals, allowing a glimpse into a bygone era." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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