Books, Korean
Comments 4

우행시

So this is what I’ve been reading these days

I actually didn’t know anything about this book before Yekyung told me about it (special thanks to her for the gift!); she described it as a well-known book that many Koreans in their twenties have read.  It’s also been made into a movie, which I hadn’t seen or heard of.  I decided to start reading this book “blind” – as in, not knowing the story beforehand, since all the other novels I own are stories that have been made into dramas or movies that I’ve already seen.  I think that was a good initial reading strategy; the fact that I knew the plot beforehand really helped me understand the novels themselves, even if I didn’t understand every single word.  Now, however, I want to challenge myself a little and go into this novel not knowing anything, and then watch the movie afterwards.  All I know from the summary alone is that the story is about a woman who has tried to commit suicide several times and a man facing capital punishment for murder, whose lives are brought together by a Catholic nun.

I’m only 55 pages into it and it’s already quite sad.  I’ve read several Korean reviews online saying that the book made them cry – I’m curious to see if it’ll end up making me cry (granted I don’t cry easily).  The 설레임 I felt while reading 해를 품은 달 definitely proves I can be moved by Korean prose, but enough to bring tears to my eyes?  Well, we’ll see.

Speaking of prose, it’s a very lovely read but there is A LOT of figurative language.  Metaphors and similes galore.  I think I’d be frustrated if this book were in English, but this type of writing seems more forgiving in (and dare I say more suited for) Korean.  Overall, it has a very somber and melancholy tone and both characters have an introspective style of narration which might make for a very heavy read, but surprisingly it’s not.  I’m actually really taken aback by how readable  the book is despite its story, and not only in the sense that I can comprehend what’s going on.  I keep turning the pages, never feeling like I need a break to recover from the heaviness of the plot (lookin’ at you, Russian literature).

Hope I’ll finally make it to the end of this one!  I have a bad habit of buying Korean novels, flipping quickly through them, reading all the easy parts, and never going back to properly read them from the beginning.  Or worse, I buy Korean novels and don’t get any further than sniffing the pages….

This entry was posted in: Books, Korean

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Writer by day, writer by night. Learning Korean and (some) Japanese since 2010.

4 Comments

  1. Jeannie says

    I saw the movie and it made me cry like a baby! I think Shanna’s reading that one too? There’s a lot of books that made me cry but there’s this one that I couldn’t even finish because it makes me cry everytime I turn the page and until now it bothers me! XD Nice to know you’re improving your reading and comprehension skills! I haven’t been studying nor read any Korean stuff the past months so I’m worried :(

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  2. That looks pretty interesting. I may go get it today. I’m in the habit of buying Korean books and not finishing them, but I finished one yesterday. So I won’t feel too bad about getting another.

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  3. Wow this seems really cool. I wish there was a pdf of it online somewhere. . . It’s kind of hard for me to buy books where I am (outside of Korea).

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  4. Pingback: 소자 vs. 소신 | 반짝반짝 한국어

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