Mostly novels this time:

  • 조남주, «82년생 김지영», a 2016 novel about (I have struggled to phrase this in a way that isn’t too dead-on) why it is so hard to be a woman in contemporary Korean society.

    The movie version from 2019 is better known, perhaps thanks to the sanitized resolution in which the title character learns to channel her resentment into creative energy—and writes the novel that the movie is based on. In the novel, however, the final chapter reveals the narrator as 지영’s therapist, and he comes within inches of a feminist awakening as he weighs different diagnoses for her, then reverses course. Witholding spoilers, I suspect that much of the hand-wringing around the book turns on its withering, cynical last sentence.

  • 장강명, «한국이 싫어서», a novel about a woman’s decision to migrate from Korea to Australia, and for reasons that are no surprise if you’ve read the book above. This one has a happy ending.

  • Mishele Maron, “Anger Management” (paywall), a memoir by a psychologist whose job was to “goad men with a history of violence into wanting to punch me” and create the opportunity for them to examine their feelings in group counseling.

  • Greg Egan, Permutation City.

  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle.

I am looking for Korean bookstores that deliver within the US. So far 반디북US has proven reliable, but I’d like to have a backup option in case their rickety website finally gives way. Write if you know of any others.