Sweet Potato: Collected Short Stories by Kim Tongin

Translation: Grace Jung

49,00 79,00 

Sweet Potato is a collection of short stories by the pioneer of realism and naturalism in modern Korean literature – Kim Tongin – who was born in Pyongyang and lived during the time when Korea was a Japanese colony.

The stories are very varied, as are the emotions they make the readers feel – from sadness and compassionto delight and wonder – which in turn inspire to reflects on one’s own life. Many tales are characterised by thick narration and frame narrative; characters present complex psychological profiles, and the suspense lasts all the way until a culmination point – it almost gives you an impression of reading a movie script (in fact, many of Kim Tongin’s short stories were turned into movies.)

The short story which gave the collections its title – Sweet Potato shows a life of a young woman, Pongnyo, who was sold and forced to marry an old useless man. Fighting for her family’s survival, she turns to prostitution and meets a tragic end. In a few other stories (Barely Opened His Eyes, The Old Taet’angji Lady, and Mother Bear) Kim describes the hardships of Korean women from various backgrounds. There are also some autobiographical elements – the narrator of Flogging talks about unbearable days he had to spend in prison, in Notes on a Darkness and Loss we read about a mother’s illness and death. I was most moved by stories about mad artists in Fire Sonata and The Mad Painter, whose obsessive search for beauty and inspiration push them to commit crimes.

The edition includes an introduction about Kim Tongin’s life and work by Youngmin Kwon, as well as a note by the translator Grace Jung.

We recommend this book for all short-story lovers, especially those who like Akutagawa or do not fear darker themes.





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The lowest price ( 2023-09-27 ): 49,00  Categories: , ,

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