The Girl who Wrote Loneliness , Kyung-Sook Shin
“This book … turned out to be not quite fact and not quite fiction …. I wonder if it can be called literature.” The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness, Kyung-Sook Shin
My 40th book of 2021 and taking me to almost 17,000 pages read.
I have lived in the United States, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.
I have worked in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China. If you include volunteer work, then I also can include Brasil.
So when I decided to expand my reading to purposely seek out authors from around the globe, I decided I should start with where I lived and worked, then expand to other places. I have read tons of books written by authors from the USA and Canada. And I’ve read books written by Mexican Authors, Brazilian Authors and Chinese Authors. Missing from my reading menagerie were authors from South Korea, Hong Kong and Ecuador.
How does one choose a book to read. We all know the familiar adage “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” but I must confess, sometimes I do choose a book to read because of the cover. Other times I choose a book because it’s title intrigues me and sometimes it is just a feeling.
With “The Girl Who wrote Loneliness” I chose the book because it’s author was South Korean and the title intrigued me. I’m glad I did
I moved to South Korea in August, 2009 and lived there until February, 2011. This book is sort of historical fiction and describes a South Korea I never knew mixed with a South Korea I encountered. How much of the history is truly South Korean history and how much is fiction? I do not know. The book describes a South Korea before it's democracy evolved. People were poor, and worked hard to get an education and improve their economic conditions. Were conditions in South Korea in the 1980s as described?
The book follows the life of a young girl who moves from the rural countryside to Seoul to live, work and study. The story is told by an author who is writing a historical fiction account of those days of her youth. I don't know the socio-economic history of South Korea to separate the fact from fiction. I did try to look up an author mentioned in the book and couldn't find anything so even though the person seems real in the book, I now presume she was created for the story.
If you have lived in South Korea in the 21st Century but not earlier, then you should enjoy learning more of Korean culture before South Korea's hard earned economic rise. The book is captivating and a drama. It provides insight to a culture very different from the west.
NOTE: From Wikipedia: "Kyung-Sook Shin is a South Korean writer. She is the first South Korean and first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize [ in 2012 for 'Please Look After Mom'. ]"