There a Petal Silently Falls: Three Stories by Ch'oe Yun
Three slim works in translation—one from Korea and two from Eastern Europe.
Stories within stories unfold in the title novella: a brother “disappears,” a mother grieves, a daughter witnesses her mother's death; consequent traumatic events leave the daughter self-destructive. The novella is haunting, painful and affirming, full of illusions and hallucinations while rooted in the graphically physical. In “Whisper Yet,” a woman's thoughts about her daughter alternate with a story from her own childhood that she's never told anyone before, a device through which three generations and two Koreas coexist. In “The Thirteen-Scent Flower,” the world is one that slides deftly from fable to satire as a truck driver who dreams of becoming “a denizen of the Arctic” crosses paths with a suicidal teenage girl with a preternaturally green thumb. Everything about Yun's work is brilliant. (May)