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Friday, 10 April 2015

Book Review: Nowhere to be found by Bae Suah

About the book:

NOWHERE TO BE FOUND is a starkly elegant story about a young woman’s search for meaning in contemporary South Korea that translator Sora Kim-Russell calls “a road novel turned inside out, a story of a woman’s journey out of and into desire told as only Bae Suah could tell it.” As the nameless narrator passes through her life haunted by poverty, conformity, and dysfunctional relationships, she learns to turn inward to discover the truth at the core of her imagination and ultimately to find value, if not reassurance, in her own existence.

Written in Bae Suah’s unique and interpretation-defying style, NOWHERE TO BE FOUND heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in modern world literature

About the Author:
A writer and translator whose first English language work, the short story Highway with Green Apples, was translated by AmazonCrossing and published in the Day One literary journal in December 2013, Bae Suah has won the Hankook Ilbo and Dongseo literary prizes and been called “one of the most risk-taking, experimental writers active in Korea today” by LIST: Books from Korea.

My Review:
"And that is how I became an absolutely meaningless thing and survived time"
This is how the novella ends. And if this doesn't break your heart, I don't know what will.

The thing with the story and plot is- and it works out in favor of the book- that despite the cultural differences between the places there and here, the universal human emotions overpower the plot and it is a painful delight to read through the pages. A painful delight is an oxymoron, but the book which I believe is just the right length and just the apt descriptions, what with cliffhangers and a duspense looming large.

Then there is a poetic quality to the narrative and that makes it even more beautiful.

The plot initially describes how the woman battles poverty and an unsupportive family, while her younger sibling still dares to dream. The poignancy is felt as we can see that eventually the younger sibling too will have to give up her dreams and give in to her fate of abject poverty and penury. Life has no hope and direction and survival in itself is a burden. Enter love into this equation, and you have the perfect recipe for tears. The elder brother goes to a foreign land to earn for his family, and there is no shortage of ironies, for it is known yo everyone that chances of him not returning are major.
The beginning desriptions and turn of events tore my heart into more pieces than one can count, and I had this urge to cry throughout the pain of the protagonist.
I especially empathised with our protagonist over her struggles with the lack of means
To me this book remains a lesson in humanity

This review was done in exchange for a copy by netgalley.


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