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….