The Snowy Road & Other Stories: An Anthology of Korean Fiction

Hyun-Jae Yee Salle, Editor, Tina Sallee, Editor, Hyunjae Y. Sallee, Translator White Pine Press (NY) $10 (167p) ISBN 978-1-877727-19-1
Korea's history in the 20th century has been turbulent: Japanese domination, the Korean War and partition. These six stories reflect that legacy, focusing largely on the aftermath of the Korean War. Yet what is memorable in this collection is its showcasing of everyday life in the countryside (few of the stories deal with contemporary urban Korean life). Ick-suh Yoo's story of a peasant who married the crippled daughter of his boss, only to find his life crumbling, is the anthology's high point, partially because of the author's skillful use of the first-person narrative in allowing the reader to identify with the narrator. Wan-suh Park's portrait of a woman seeking, in the depths of winter, to resolve an inner conflict regarding her marriage is both gentle and perceptive. By contrast, the stories where the war is more prominent, such as Jung-rae Cho's exploration of how a young man's series of imprisonments and political conversions affects him and his family, seem forced and trite, despite the momentous events. Unfortunately, the undramatic Eastern narrative style, which can be very effective, here tends to dissipate like fading ripples on a pond, rather than creating a long-lasting impression. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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