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Once the Shore: Stories Paperback – April 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932511709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932511703
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #772,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Yoon's collection of eight richly textured stories explore the themes of family, lost love, silence, alienation and the effects of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War on the poor communities of a small South Korean island. In the namesake story, a lonely young waiter connects with an American widow who has come to find the cave where her husband claimed to have carved their initials during his tour of duty in Korea. The narrator shifts between Jim coping with the loss of his big brother, a fisherman killed by a surfacing American submarine, and the sorrow of the widow. In Among the Wreckage, aging parents Bey and Soni hope to recover the body of their son, Karo, killed in a U.S. military bombing test on what was thought to be a deserted island. The sad journey provides Bey an opportunity to examine his inability to show affection to his wife and only child. Yoon's stories are introspective and tender while also painting with bold strokes the details of the lives of the invisible. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His fiction has appeared in One Story, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, and The Best American Short Stories, among other publications. Once the Shore is his first book.

More About the Author

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book, Once the Shore, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and as a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. It also won the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction and a 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation. He lives in Massachusetts with the author Laura van den Berg. For more information, visit: snowhunters.tumblr.com

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a book you need to buy.
D. McCoy
I am mystified by how this author is able to write stories of such ineffable sadness that are ultimately so uplifting.
Ron Burns
The memorable characters leading ordinary lives have a depth to them and a complexity that makes their presence real.
Mary Addems Carr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By JJW on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished Paul Yoon's amazing debut story collection. It took me a while, because I knew from the start that I wanted to savor it. Now, I want to go back through and read it again. These are not your typical stories. They don't seem to work the way most stories -- at least most that I read -- do. You don't read these stories simply to find out what happens. You read them to exist in the world with the character while the events of that world are happening. In that, Paul Yoon is doing something unique and precious with his writing. I don't quiet know how to get at what these stories accomplish, except that they feel to me like they float, like the worlds they contain are somehow unmoored from the world I experience every day, as if they are floating on the sea that surrounds the island on which the stories are set. Reading this book, you can feel the world rock and sway with the current. These stories are dream-like that way, and they will linger with you as powerfully as the most meaningful and affecting of dreams.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. McCoy on June 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finally finished Paul Yoon's collection of short stories. It took a few months to read, mainly because I did not want the reading experience to end. This collection was amazing. Yoon writes with such graceful, elgant prose. His voice and control over his characters is amazing to read. All the stories were previously published and it's easy to see why. I'm very anxious and excited for more of Yoon's fiction. Lets hope he has a book coming out soon, but if not, I can and will turn back to the collection. This is a book you need to buy. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Camera newbie on January 2, 2014
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Sparse, lyrical, heartbreaking tales of love and loss, exotic settings, emotionally damaged characters, and finding healing and resolve in unexpected places and faces. Yoon writes with such reticent passion, a resonance of yearning and longing. His debut novel The Snow Hunters continues with that amazing writer's voice. A young American original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob on January 1, 2011
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Yoon's collection is very imagistic, not in the sense of lyrical, but in the sense of tight prose that is spare. In this way it is unique and moving. There's not a lot of extra language here, which for me is refreshing. The stories are beautiful naratives with characters you believe, and whose actions are credible.
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By Andy on August 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I adopted from Korea and thus have a special interest in learning more about the country.
They are great fiction, although a couple of them tie in actual events (e.g. the "Ehime Maru and USS Greeneville collision" fictionalized (to make the story work) as a Korean fishing vessel instead of a Japanese).
I've been checking out the book from the library and am still saving a couple stories for the next time.
I'm looking forward to whatever Paul Yoon will be publishing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once the Shore: Stories by Paul Yoon is a compilation of deeply engrossing tales, each taking place on an imaginary island that is so beautifully described that the reader believes it must exist and searches for it on a map. The memorable characters leading ordinary lives have a depth to them and a complexity that makes their presence real. They linger in the mind long after closing the book that brought them to life.
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