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The Queen of Weight Loss
BAEK Young-ok
416p
Novel


A vivid, incisive report on the desires and conflicts in the modernday society, created by lookism and women’s obsession with weight loss.


After Jeongmin, my boyfriend, breaks up with me, my weight goes up to nearly a 100kg. My friend Ingyeong, a television writer, tells me that Jeongmin got back together with his ex-girlfriend; and she also suggests that I participate in a reality show called “The Queen of Weight Loss.” I’d had no choice but to gain weight, as I focused more on being a talented chef than a girl. I decide to quit my job at “Purple,” the restaurant at which I have been working, and to participate in the show.

The fourteen participants, who accomplish various missions, living together for 3 months, gradually forget good manners; instead, they build strategic friendships in order to survive, and all kinds of rumors and shocking exposes abound, in an atmosphere of hatred, jealousy and schemes. In the end, Danbi and I make it to the final round, and Danbi wins. Soon, however, it is revealed that Danbi is a transgender, with her photographs from the past spreading like wildfire on the internet. With “the queen of weight loss” turning out not to be a “queen” at all, the media spotlight turns to me; the restaurant, Purple, hires me back as well. Purple thrives for some time, but then complaints about the food increases all of a sudden. On top of that, I begin to suffer from anorexia, afraid of gaining weight, and worried that I may have been the one to expose Danbi’s secret. Being unable to taste the food at the restaurant, I am laid off.

Then, Ingyeong confesses that she had lied about Jeongmin getting back together with his ex-girlfriend, to make me go on “The Queen of the Weight Loss.” I forgive her on the condition that she find a way for me to meet the other participants of the show. Soon after, I get together with them, with the exception of Danbi, at the new restaurant opened by my former co-workers at Purple. They have a good time chatting, but barely touch the food set before them. I take the plates back to the kitchen, where Hyejeong informs me that the people from the show were the “black consumers” who had made endless complaints about the food at Purple, to curse the success of the “fake queen,”who had risen to her throne, killing the real queen.


A society praising abnormal weight loss, together with the desire of individuals to win, by trampling down on one another, create a cacophonous rupture.”  Chosun Ilbo

This isn’t a chic-lit that whispers sweet lies, such as ‘Fat women can be happy, too.’ Neither does it instigate a revolution against a society which demands an abnormal body. It simply throws the question, ‘What is the nature of our desires?’”  Hankook Economy Daily


About the Author
Baek Young-ok was born in 1974 in Seoul. Her favorite books as a child included Anne of Green Gables and Daddy-Long-Legs. She found a job as a book editor at an online bookstore because of her love for books, and read countless books while working there. Even today, she fondly remembers those days of swimming in books. She began her literary career by winning the Munhakdongne New Writers Award with her short story “Shanti, the Cat” in 2006, and received the 4th Segye Ilbo Literature Award with Style, her first full-length novel, in 2008. Her works include Taking a Walk in Manolo Blahniks, a book of sprightly essays on fashion and trend.

 


When I Was at My Most Beautiful
GONG Sun-ok
304p
Novel

“They were most beautiful in their twentieth winter.”


The most painful, sad beauty of youth at twenty. The most beautiful time of their lives. Set in the early 1980s, the novel portrays the life of Haegeum, the fourth daughter from an average family living in Gwangju. Not long after she enters high school, she and her friends find themselves caught in the midst of a demonstration in the Gwangju Democratization Movement. One of her friends, Gyeongae, is killed on the spot. The friends who survive her live on with heavy hearts. It is painful for them to accept the gift of youth in a city where so many youths have perished.

Haegeum begins a sweet relationship with a young man named Hwan, whom she met at her uncle’s factory, but the relationship ends when Hwan, trapped in a hopeless family situation, mutilates himself. While “the poet” fills the empty space in Haegeum’s life, Haegeum continues to wonder about her purpose in life.  One day, “the poet” is dragged off to prison, and Seung-gyu, a comrade in the same cause as “the poet” and Jeongshin, commits suicide after being drafted by the army. The friends gather in Gwanghallu in remembrance of the deceased.

When they were at their most beautiful, the world wasn’t very bright or beautiful. The young adults of this story grapple with the hollowness of being forced to grow up too soon. When they were at their most beautiful, they were very unhappy and profoundly lost. But like a flame that burns more brightly in the dark, the brilliant growth inspirited by the anguish of younger days will light the hearts of today’s youth.

“A poignant depiction of youth at twenty and their endurance of many trials and tribulations. You’ll laugh at Haegeum’s cheeky wit and be touched by their struggles.”  Yonhap News

“A dedication to a time beautiful because it was sad, and sad because it was beautiful. Despite the topics of collective sorrow and personal growing pains, the tone remains bright and upbeat.”  Hankyoreh Daily


About the Author

Gong Sun-ok was born 1963 in Goksung, and made her literary debut with “Seed Fire” in The Quarterly Changbi in 1991. She is famous for her portrayals of the marginalized, especially women and their tenacious commitment to life, and maternity through a dynamic rhetoric. The recipient of the Women News Literature Prize, the Shin Dong Yeob Creative Prize, the Today’s Young Writer Award, 2005 Artist of the Year (literature), and the Catholic Literature Prize, Gong has written the short story collections, Bloom! Daffodils, Merry Night Walk, and I Shall not Die; fulllength novels, Left My Thirties in Ojiri, Come to the Sorghum Field; and the essay collections, I Cried at Jaunyeong Flower Field and Happy Dinner.


Hesperus (Evening Star)
HWANG Sok-young
288p
Novel, coming-of-age
rights sold: French(Editions Zulma)
- 450,000 copies sold in Korea
- Number One Bestseller at YES24, Aladdin, Interpark, and Bandi & Lunis
- 2008 Book of the Year by Chosun Ilbo, YES24, Aladdin, Youngpoong Books, and Interpark


If we had never suffered from pain, how could we call our yesterdays a “festival”?

Yujun, a youth in his twenties, is about to be dispatched to the Vietnam War. Before leaving for Vietnam, he takes a leave of absence to come home to his family and friends, and reflects on his high school days.
Jun and his friends, who were high school students in the early 1960s, were bookish, yet romantic “young gentlemen.” Some witnessed the death of a friend at the 4.19 Student Demonstrations, and others roamed about, tired of the gloomy reality and the stifling education system. They spend their whirlwind years climbing mountains, burying their noses in books, painting, writing, and at times, having serious discussions while having a drink. The portrait of these somewhat pretentious but passionate youth is that of teenagers who distress over their life and future today. Questioning the uniform and oppressive systematic education, Jun withdraws from school, explaining in a long letter the reasons for his withdrawal, and thus begins his days of roaming. Through his encounters and experiences, he comes to know what it means to live with every fiber of your being.
During those days of wandering, he also tries to find himself and his future, but the answer to life is not handed out just for the asking. In the end, he decides to leave home and go into the mountains, but he returns to Seoul with his mother who comes to visit him at the mountain temple. Back in Seoul, Jun takes poison, wanting to disappear from the world.
On the last day of his leave before going to Vietnam, Jun finally comes to realize that he is at a point of no return. He does not fear, however, for you can only live today.
The streetcar named “Youth” departs, passing through a dark tunnel with a deafening roar.


“This story of teenagers, sketched through different perspectives of different narrators, unfolds in a captivating way. The novel can also be read in different ways, depending on the reader’s perspective.” Chosun Ilbo


“The story of the author as a youth who broke free from a life of elitism to roam the streets not just a part of the author’s personal history, but a literary prototype that creates an expansive common ground with its pains of the growing years.” Korea Herald Business



About the Author

Hwang Sok-yong was born in Manchuria in 1943. He began his literary career while in high school, receiving the New Writer Award from Sasanggye for his short story, “Near the Marking Stone.” In his youth, Hwang worked at many construction sites spending time with a construction worker he met at a police lockup for taking part in an anti-government demonstration. He also lived as a member of a fishing boat crew and worked at a bakery. At one time, he wanted to become a Buddhist monk and went to stay at a mountain temple. He was dispatched to the Vietnam War as a Republic of Korea marine.
In 1970, Hwang won the Chosun Ilbo annual literary contest for his short story, “Pagoda,” which reflects his experience during the war, and thus embarked on a full literary career. He emerged as one of the leading contemporary Korean writers, with such masterpieces as “The Land of Strangers” and “The Road to Sampo.” A multi-volume saga, Jang Kilsan, serialized in The Hankuk Ilbo for ten years (1974- 1984), established him as a “people’s writer.” These works were heralded not only as the finest examples of realism, but also as the most outstanding achievement in Korean literature.
Hwang visited North Korea in 1989 after which he went into exile in Germany and the United States. He returned to South Korea in 1993 and served five years in prison for violating the National Security Law. His recent novels include An Old Garden (2000), The Guest (2001), Shim Cheong (2007), Princess Bari (2007), and Hesperus (2008).
Hwang has received numerous literary awards and prizes. For The Shadow of Arms, he received the Manhae Literature Award in 1989, the Danjae Literature Award in 2000, and the Daesan Literature Award for The Guest in 2001. His works have been translated into various languages, including English, French, Japanese, and  Chinese.



Love Recipes
PARK Ju-young
280p
Novel
Selected as Outstanding Literature by Arts Council Korea

“Now, what I need is one last love affair! I can cook up anything I want - - -men, relationships, love, or life - - -as long as I have the recipe!”


“I,” an average woman in my late twenties, whose hobby is cooking and collecting recipes, have a great boyfriend and close friends, but I still don’t have a clear idea about relationships, love and life. My friend Sujin, who’s got the theories down pat, and Yuri, who has a lot of experience with relationships, always watch on from the sidelines as I go about getting myself into relationships, getting frustrated at my cluelessness and giving me advice at times. Still, relationships aren’t easy.
My boyfriend Seongwu - - -good looking, with a great personality and a promising future - - - hasn’t been calling me as much lately. It all began when he took me to a nice restaurant: as we were looking at the menu, I mentioned that I had already been there with my friend, Jihun. Sure, I’d had a crush on Jihun when we were in the same class in elementary school, but he’s going out with my friend Yuri, so how could Seongwu misunderstand our friendship?
Before I met Seongwu, my yardstick in picking out a guy had always been Jihun. I’d think in my heart, I like him better than Jihun, he’s as good-looking as Jihun, or he looks a lot like Jihun. But that was all before I met Seongwu. After I started going out with Seongwu, Jihun has been nothing more than a friend I hang out with from time to time, to go see a movie, go out to eat, or talk to on the phone.
It seems, however, that Seongwu isn’t the only one who doesn’t see us as just friends. As my relationship with Seongwu goes wrong, Sujin starts asking if I haven’t considered going out with Jihun, and Yuri calls me out of nowhere, asking how I am. On top of that, my married older sister keeps trying to set me up with guys.
Then one day, Yuri comes over, drunk, and tells me that Jihun has broken up with her, and that night, Jihun tells me he loves him. How could I have been so clueless? I am perturbed at his sudden declaration of love, but after some hesitation, I begin dating him.
As always, I remember to write down recipes in my cooking notebook. There’s no recipe for solving all the problems in the world, but there is sound advice I can share with people like me. That is:
1. Prepare the best possible ingredients.
2. Don’t be too greedy from the outset.
3. Always look back and reflect on yourself.
4. Trust your feelings, senses, habits, and above all, yourself.


"A novel that reveals the views on relationships by young people today, who regard love as a matter of choice, just as they choose what to eat from the refrigerator." Chosun Ilbo


"Tied in with anecdotes about food, the views of women in their 20s regarding relationships and marriage unfold in an absorbing manner." Hankook Ilbo


About the Author
Park Ju-young, born in 1971 in Busan, graduated with both an undergraduate and graduate degree from the Department of Politics and Diplomacy at Busan University. She made her literary debut with her novella “If Time Spent Me” winning the spring literary contest hosted by Dong-A Ilbo in 2005. She received the 30th Today’s Writer Award with The Life of a Good-for-Nothing.


Modern Boy
LEE Ji-Min, 2008
240p
Novel

“A lover is much harder to win back than a country.”
Sensational, brazen depiction of the darkest chapter of Korean history, Japanese colonization.


Yi Haemyeong, protagonist of this story, takes a job highlighting documents at the Japanese Governor-General’s Office at the urging of his father, a “pro-Japanese with a conscience.” A self-proclaimed “God of Romance,” Haemyeong meets and falls in love with a cheery, ordinary modern girl named Jo Nansil. Happy days and dreamy dates continue until one day, Nansil evaporates into thin air, stealing everything worth anything from Haemyeong’s apartment and leaving Haemyeong to take care of her overdue rent.
To track her down, Haemyeong goes over Gyeongseong (the name of the city of Seoul at the time) with a fine-toothed comb to discover that Nansil already has a husband, who goes by the name “Terror Bak,” that she has over ten aliases, and that she is the spearhead of the underground liberation terrorist group called Twentieth Century Modern Image Dance Kurabu (kurabu is the Japanese borrowing of English “club”), a.k.a. Sa-aedan.
When he finally finds Nansil and Sa-aedan after many twists and turns, he realizes that he has turned into the Twentieth Century Modern Image Dance Kurabu spook at the Governor-General’s Office. He winds up in a fancy tuxedo that is, in fact, a bomb suit, with the identity of Nansil’s alleged husband, Terror Bak, thrust upon him.
Lee Ji Min rocks the boat. She calls into question what we have accepted as fact for decades with her subversive, bold imagination that creates characters such as Yi Haemyeong, who argues that he works for the Governor-General’s Office because his supposed bad luck will bring down the establishment and bring about national eration; Jo Nansil the mystery woman, who robs her ex and makes people up to fool her comrades and launch an operation that looks like a liberation movement; the last spy of the Korean Royal Court, who escapes by taking a dump in the police wagon on the way to prison; and Shinsuke the innocuous, Tokyo University-educated Japanese who yells “Hurray for Independence!” trying to learn Korean from a language manual for police officers. A shameless, frivolous adventure completely devoid of “historical consciousness” set in the darkest chapter of Korean history.


"Read the first dozen pages, and you’re hooked." Chosun Ilbo


"The protagonists Yi Haemyeong and Jo Nansil playfully and shamelessly shatter our assumptions about Seoul in the 1930’s. While I was working on a movie based on Haemyeong and Nansil, I saw ‘modern boys’ and ‘modern girls’ just like them on television. I realized then that I was not the only one who had read this book with a highlighter in hand." Jeong Ji-wu (Director of Modern Boy the movie)


About the Author
Lee Ji-Min made her debut as a writer in 2000 when she received the 5th Munhakdongne Writer Award with her full-length novel Modern Boy (Original Title: Could You Live without Failing or Dying?). She has also written No Despair, full-length novel, and The Man Asks to be Walked Home, a collection of short stories.



Lee Jin
SHIN Kyong-sook, 2007
296p (Vol.1) 360p (Vol.2)
Novel
rights sold: French (Philippe Picquier)

- 350,000 copies sold in Korea within 6 months
- 2007 Aladdin Book of the Year

A Love Story between the first French diplomat stationed in Korea and a royal court dancer.

This is the story of Lee Jin, the first royal court dancer from Korea who went to Paris, in
the late 19th century, around the time of introduction of Western civilizations into Joseon (Korea). Lee Jin, orphaned young and raised by her neighbor, Mrs. Seo, enters palace as a child attendant. One day, having lost her way in the palace, she catches the attention of the Empress, and under the shower of her affection, grows up to be a royal court dancer, and an attendant taking care of the Empress at her side.

A first-generation French diplomat called Collin de Plancy comes to the court for an
audience with the king, and upon seeing the captivating beauty of Lee Jin, falls in love
with her at first sight; upon a second encounter with Lee Jin at the royal banquet, as she dances the spring-parrot-dance in a traditional dancer’s outfit, he becomes even more captivated by her beauty. Though well aware that women of the palace belong to the king, Collin confesses to the king his love for Lee Jin after some turmoil, and eventually gaining permission from the king, Lee Jin leaves for France, to an unknown land, with Collin. In Paris, she lives a free, independent life, meeting Hong Jong-wu, the first student to have come from Joseon to study there, and works with him in translating and publishing novels of Joseon into French. A great sorrow awaits her, however. She miscarries her baby. She suffers from depression and even somnambulism, because of her sorrow at the loss, homesickness for Joseon, and a longing for Gang Yeon, a court musician, her old friend since they were children. To ease her homesickness, Collin returns to Joseon with Lee Jin.
Hong Jong-wu returns to Joseon around the same time as well. Resenting Lee Jin for not accepting his love in Paris, he stirs up trouble for Lee Jin. Through his cunning scheme, Collin ends up returning to France, leaving Lee Jin behind, then is sent off to another country, and Gang Yeon leaves as well, his fingers cut off as punishment. Not long after, Japanese swordsmen attack the palace and assassin the Empress. Lee Jin witnesses the murder of the Empress. A few weeks later, she writes a letter to Collin about what happened to the Empress, hoping that he could deliver the truth to the West, dances the spring-parrot-dance one final time, and ends her life, by ripping out one poisoned sheet after another from her French-Korean dictionary and swallowing them.

"A breathtaking beauty"

"A sorrow like hot tears shed through longing lies deep within the sentences." - Chosun Ilbo

"This is a new-age historical novel, different from existing history novels, creating a boom of Korean novels." - Kyunghyang Daily News


About the Author
Shin Kyong-sook made her literary debut in 1985 when her novella “Winter Fables” won the Literary Joongang New Writer Award. She received the Hanguk Ilbo Literature Award(1993), Today’s Young Artist Award(1993), Hyundae Literature Award(1995), 1996 Manhae Literature Award(1996), Dong-In Literature Award, the 21st Century Literature Award(2000), Isang Literature Award(2001), and Oh Yeongsu Award(2006).
Her works include the short story collections, Till We Becomes a River, Where the Organ Once Was, Potato Eaters, Strawberry Fields, Bells; novels, Deep Sorrow, An Isolated Room, The Train Leaves at Seven, Violet, Lee Jin, Please Look After Mom; essay collections, Beautiful Shadow, Sleep! Sorrow, The House with Mountains, and The House with a Well.


An Isolated Room
SHIN Kyong-sook, 1999
456p
Novel
rights sold: French(Philippe Picquier), German(Pendragon), Japanese(Shueisha), Chinese(Chinese People´s Literature), Thai(Nanmeebooks)


A serious journey of a lonely soul, a touching coming-of-age story of a laborer.


An Isolated Room is one of the best novels describing the life in the 1980s in Korea and the difficulties faced by the working class in a period when human rights violations by corporations were common and people struggled to make a living with low wages. This story is based on the writer’s own experience in this era. It’s a story of a young idealistic girl who wants to be a writer, while her surrounding world seems to be against her.
The story begins with a phone call that “I” receives from a vocational school classmate. She asks me why I haven’t written about the time I spent with her at school in my most recent best selling book. She asks if it is because I am embarrassed that I didn’t graduate from a normal high school and instead went to a vocational school with her. The phone call reminds me of some of my bad memories of growing up poorly and coming to Seoul to work in a factory.
I grow up in a poor family in the country, and become so sick of farming and working in the field one day that I throw the tool I was using into a well. I decide to leave, and come to Seoul with my older brother at the age of sixteen. We find a tiny room that is part of a thirty-seven-room building, and before I have a chance to become used to the city, I start working in a factory making audio devices. I am paid only $1.00 a day, and worked twelve hours a day for six days, sometimes seven days a week.
Life is hard, but through it all I hold fast to my dream of becoming a writer. So, everyday I go to the vocational school to study after work. I am pursuing my dream, but my co-workers do not understand this. They become upset and they force me to leave the union.
About a year later, in the spring of 1979, I meet Hee-jae. She helps me when I am having trouble, and keeps my spirits up as I adjust to my new life. We spend a lot of time together, and she becomes more like a sister to me, than just a friend. However, she was having trouble with depression as a result of hard life, and she eventually commits suicide.

An autobiographical novel that is also a good insight into the period when the author was growing up. The strength, depth and beauty in this book are those that can only be shown in literature. Through the author’s penance in An Isolated Room, we can see the conflict between her instinctive fear about writing based on her own experiences and her strong will with which she has to overcome the fear. Here, we see the author using ellipsis constantly due to the obsession she has to say something which cannot be said. And it has become the unique narrative style of Shin Kyong-suk as “the author of introspection.” She shows the new realism in the form of, so called, meta-fiction, by “realistically” drawing the many-sided lives of people today.


“Shin Kyong-sook’s sentences are small like snowflakes. But at the end of her novel, the snowflake become an avalanche that is powerful enough to blow the reader’s mind.” Chosun Ilbo


*** The French edition of An Isolated Room (La Chambre solitaire, 2008) received Le prix de l´inaperçu, selected by the committee of journalists, literary critics and writers, given to the book of high literary quality but which did not get the praises it deserved during the year of publication. ***


About the Author
Shin Kyong-sook made her literary debut in 1985 when her novella “Winter Fables” won the Literary Joongang New Writer Award. She received the Hanguk Ilbo Literature Award(1993), Today’s Young Artist Award(1993), Hyundae Literature Award(1995), 1996 Manhae Literature Award(1996), Dong-In Literature Award, the 21st Century Literature Award(2000), Isang Literature Award(2001), and Oh Yeongsu Award(2006).
Her works include the short story collections, Till We Becomes a River, Where the Organ Once Was, Potato Eaters, Strawberry Fields, Bells; novels, Deep Sorrow, An Isolated Room, The Train Leaves at Seven, Violet, Lee Jin, Please Look After Mom; essay collections, Beautiful Shadow, Sleep! Sorrow, The House with Mountains, and The House with a Well.



 


The Queen of Red Bricks
CHEON Myeong-Kwan
456p
Novel
rights sold: French(Actes Sud), Thai(Nanmeebooks)


A tornado of laughter and tears! Save your breast for the last page!

This novel is the story of the various ups and downs in the extraordinary and tumultuous lives of three women over a period of three generations. It is a story of so many things - - - loneliness, love, disappointment, death, despair, success, misunderstanding, crime, vengeance, hope and resilience. There seems to be hardly an aspect of human existence omitted.
Acting as a background and linking thread to the novel is the bitter old woman who runs a rice and soup restaurant. Incredibly ugly, she is unable to marry, and she spends her life working in other peoples’ kitchens. Eventually she sets up her own restaurant, relentlessly amassing money and vowing vengeance on the world. She hides all her money in the roof, but when she dies in an accident the money remains hidden, together with its curse.
Geum-bok is the character that dominates the first two parts of the book. Brought up in the countryside, she has an adventurous spirit and she goes to the seaside where she works for a fish merchant. Her subsequent marriage, suicide of her husband and her murder of the man that she mistakenly thinks killed him makes this part of her life a time of despair and disaster. Moving to the town of Pyeongdae, Geum-bok finds the fortune left by the old woman and sets up a brick factory which rakes in money. She then builds a film theatre, the most striking building in Pyeongdae. However, the money is cursed.
Thwarted in love, Geum-bok gives herself up to drink and burns down the theatre.
Our third woman is Chun-hui, Geum-bok’s daughter. Of massive build and dumb from birth, she learns all there is to know about brick making from her stepfather. However, she is wrongly charged with arson and sentenced to ten years in prison. She too seems cursed. Nonetheless, Chun-hui is wonderfully resilient. Returning to the ruined brick factory after her release from prison, she starts making bricks again. Despite further trials and tribulations, in course of time her skill is recognized and she becomes known as the “Queen of Red Bricks.”


"The main virtue of The Queen of Red Bricks is its incredible readability. There is not a boring moment in this book - - -a rare find."  Kyunghyang Daily News
 
"The charm of this novel lies in its brilliantly exaggerated description. The plausible absurdity of the plot and the language sweep the reader along like a giant snowball, reaching epic proportions."  Hankook Ilbo


About the Author
Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s writing career took off when he won the 2003 Munhakdongne New Writers Award for his short story “Frank and Me.” Only a year later in 2004, he won the 10th Munhakdongne Novel Award for The Queen of Red Bricks. He has also published a fiction collection entitled Marisa, the Merry Maid. In addition to fiction, Cheon has written screenplays such as “The Gunslinger” and “The Beijing Cuisine.”


 


Salmon
Written by AHN Do-hyeon, Illustrated by UHM Taek-soo, 1996
136p
Novel, a fable for adults
rights sold: French(Philippe Picquier), Japanese, German, Thai(Nanmeebooks)

840,000 copies sold
2005 Hanuri Reading Campaign Center Recommended Book
Njoy-school Recommended Book for Middle and High School Students
Essential Reading for Young People, selected by Jeonnam Province Education Office

The beautiful, sad, and touching life of salmon.

Salmon is the lead title of Munhakdongne’s Fables for Adults series. By depicting the life of the salmon, which swims upstream to its native river and then dies after spawning, it demonstrates allegorically the preciousness of life. Salmon is a story about the pain of growing up and about aching and ardent love.

Salmon tells the growth of a fish named Silver Salmon, who, while returning to his distant mother stream with his friends, loses a sister, falls in love with Clear-eyed Salmon, and ascends a waterfall. The sad yet beautiful fate of salmon, which die shortly after spawning, is fused into a warm and moving style of writing that leads the reader into a mysterious, hidden world.

A "novel-like fable" and a "fable-like novel," Salmon deals with a weighty theme, delving into the true nature of life and the pain of existence. Swimming upstream to one’s native river means pursuing something one cannot see, pursuing a dream - - it is an excruciatingly hard but beautiful goal. Silver Salmon’s realization that the purpose of his existence is to protect others here and now, to act as a support for others and not think of himself, provides a humble view of life.

The migration home of countless shoals of salmon, which have “eyes of the heart” in order to fulfill a pure and innocent love, shows the amazing splendor that is possible when man and nature meet. Within this splendor, the love of Silver Salmon and Clear-eyed Salmon is painful and yet resounds with sweet melody. Only those salmon that possess the gift of seeing the world in a beautiful light are able to fall in love and have the longing to become bound to the heart of another, to become a deep memory that can never be erased. Eyes that long to see that which is not visible, eyes that know how to visualize that which cannot be seen - such are "eyes of the heart." Silver Salmon’s love invites us to recover our own "eyes of the heart" so that we can pursue the pure and innocent love we have either forgotten or lost in the face of the binding realities of life.

About the Author
Ahn Do-hyeon was born in 1961 in Yeocheon, and graduated from Wonkwang University where he studied Korean literature. His writing career took off when he won the Daegu Maeil Shinmun Annual Literary Contest with his poem "Nakdong River" in 1981 and the Dong-A Ilbo Annual Literary Contest with his poem "Jeon Bong-jun Goes to Seoul" in 1984. Ahn also received the 1996 Young Poet´s Award and the 1998 Kim So-wol Literature Prize.
Ahn’s anthologies of poetry include Jeon Bong-jun Goes to Seoul, Bonfire, Lonely High Solitary, Beloved Fox, Post Office by the Sea, I Want to Go to You, Unable to Sleep?, Just Me and the Train, I Made a River to Go to You, and Earnestly Just Like a Child. Ahn’s prose works include In Times of Loneliness, Let Yourself be Lonely, Salmon, Relations, and Photograph Album.
 


PePe, the Duck
Written by Jae Yeon, Illustrated by KIM Se-hyeon, 2001
158p
Novel, a fable for adults
rights sold: French (Philippe Picquier)

A baby duck goes on a journey to search for himself, to love, to dream and to be free.

PePe is a baby duck who believes that he can fly because he has wings. As he grows up though, he begins to realize that his wings will not enable him to fly.  However, he cannot give up his dream of flying. He embarks on a journey to realize his dream, meets many other kinds of animals, The Mole, Grandma Pigeon, Mr. Bull and Mrs. Birdie. These animals PePe meets teach him the true meaning of love and freedom, and how important they are in his life. After his journey, the much wiser PePe becomes the leader of a group of ducks, and later, manages to realize his dream of flying.

About the Author
Jae Yeon became a Buddhist priest at the age of 19. He earned his Ph.D. in 1985 in India. He has written numerous essays and has published them in various collections such as Wanderer’s Stories and Becoming a Zen Master. He has also translated religious books into Korean, which include Tibetan Tale of Love and Magic, Subasiddha, The Road of Siddhartha and Dharma the Cat.

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