Kang Hwagil is often compared to Cho Namjoo, author Kim Jiyoung, born 1982 (Kim Jiyoung, urodzona w 1982) and for good reason. Both authors are characterized by conservative style, showing situations as frequent as they are problematic, moments when it is obvious that being a woman in the modern world is not pleasant.
The protagonist of Demons, Kim Miyoung, is a teacher in a small town school. She is raising her children in her mother-in-law’s house while her husband lives abroad. As in the case of Kim Jiyoung, the circumstances of the woman’s life are defined by a social system in which the man is relieved of domestic duties and childcare, especially if he can justify it by the progress of his career. After her husband leaves, Miyoung agrees to live with her mother-in-law, who instead of helping becomes a burden. In Demons, we watch how Miyoung tries to persevere in an unsatisfactory, unpleasant and monotonous everyday duties.
The theme of the titlular demons adds mystery to the book. Strange smells, the sudden perception of danger hidden in seemingly innocent faces, the suspicious disappearance of Mina, Miyoung’s daughter – all these elements enrich Miyoung’s routine, adding much needed depth to her life. I recommend the book to fans of stories with a mystery in the background and to everyone who liked the famous book by Cho Namjoo.
The Yeoyu series is a collection of mini books featuring short stories and novellas. Yeoyu (여유) means a place or space, and in this case, the space of free self-discovery, a place where you can breathe and feel at ease. True to its name, the series presents the texts of some of the most interesting Korean writers, often experimental, surprising and unusual. Its counterpart presenting writers from Japan is Keshiki.