The Night Nobody Returns Home (아무도 돌아오지 않는 밤)

Translation: Jeon Miseli


Bilingual Modern series features bilingual (Korean-English) editions of texts by the most interesting authors from South Korea, which make up the modern canon of the country’s literature. The editors emphasize that the selection of the best stories is crucial for them – but everything in these books is enjoyable: careful editing, aesthetics or an interesting study in the form of a commentary/essay offered after the main text.

Yeong-suk, a young pregnant woman, her husband and father-in-law live under one roof; not because they want tol, but as a result of her husband’s clumsy investments. Despite this, Yeong-suk spends most of her time alone. Her husband works and her father-in-law goes out most of the day. When it turns out that the father-in-law lent a large sum to the downstairs neighbour, Yeong-suk is taske with waiting for the visit to return the money back. But as the title suggests, that one night no one returns home…

The Night Nobody Returns Home is a novella in a grotesque, disturbing atmosphere that will surely appeal to fans of Grobowa ciszy, żałobny zgiełk – and if you know Kim Soom from One Left, this novella may surprise you. The condensed, almost claustrophobic world in which Yeong-suk lives is further emphasized by a language full of melodious repetitions that weave through the story like a refrain that cannot be forgotten.

"If no one seemed to be coming home, she suddenly wondered if the other families were back home safe and sound, like on any other night."

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