Shadows of a Sound

Hwang Sun-Won, Author, Won Hwang Sun, Author, J. Martin Holman, Editor Mercury House $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-916515-65-2
Selecting short stories from the 50-year career of Korean novelist Hwang, editor and chief translator Holman has compiled a rewarding survey for Western readers that reveals an underlying unity of style and theme. In unadorned, realistic prose, Hwang details the lives of poor peasants and angry young men, innocent children and bitter elders, all set in a vivid natural world. Often the action is observed from a distance, filtered through an observer, a memory or a framing narrative. Some pieces are little more than vignettes; ``Reeds'' offers snapshot-like scenes of a young girl, her opium-addicted grandfather and a dying dog. The mood is established, and the connections are the reader's to make. ``Drizzle'' provides a brutal, depiction of a war-time killing, and ``Old Man Hwang'' a rueful portrayal of a cantankerous 60-year-old nursing regrets at his birthday feast. The effects are different, but the clarity of emotion in these stories make the author's reputation as one of Korea's best writers easy to understand. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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