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There a Petal Silently Falls: Three Stories by Ch'oe Yun (Weatherhead Books on Asia) [Kindle Edition]

Ch'oe Yun , Ju-Chan Fulton
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ch'oe Yun is a Korean author known for her breathtaking versatility, subversion of authority, and bold exploration of the inner life. Readers celebrate her creative play with fantasy and admire her deep engagement with trauma, history, and the vagaries of remembrance.

In this collection's title work, There a Petal Silently Falls, Ch'oe explores both the genesis and the aftershocks of historical outrages such as the Kwangju Massacre of 1980, in which a reported 2,000 civilians were killed for protesting government military rule. The novella follows the wanderings of a girl traumatized by her mother's murder and strikes home the injustice of state-sanctioned violence against men and especially women. "Whisper Yet" illuminates the harsh treatment of leftist intellectuals during the years of national division, at the same time offering the hope of reconciliation between ideological enemies. The third story, "The Thirteen-Scent Flower," satirizes consumerism and academic rivalries by focusing on a young man and woman who engender an exotic flower that is coveted far and wide for its various fragrances.

Elegantly crafted and quietly moving, Ch'oe Yun's stories are among the most incisive portrayals of the psychological and spiritual reality of post-World War II Korea. Her fiction, which began to appear in the late 1980s, represents a turn toward a more experimental, deconstructionist, and postmodern Korean style of writing, and offers a new focus on the role of gender in the making of Korean history.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yun’s three stories drawing upon Korea’s post–World War II history of dictatorship succeeded by economic boom react to political repression and modern commercialism with consummate artistry. “There a Petal Silently Falls” presents the plight of a wandering girl, shocked speechless by her mother’s killing during antigovernment agitation, from three perspectives: her own via interior monologue, that of a brutal construction worker who takes her in, and that of a student recounting a search for her by him and other former classmates of her dead brother. The three narrative strains harmonize a bleak, sad, powerful music. In “Whisper Yet,” a mother’s reactions to her daughter’s play interrupt her reverie about her family’s orchard keeper, a South Korean Communist surviving in hiding by working for a North Korean exile—the woman’s father. Recollected love relieves this ponderable, rather ambivalent piece. “The Thirteen-Scent Flower” sharply contrasts with its volume mates. A romantic comedy tinged with fantasy and satire, it lightly but drolly tells the story of two aimless young people, barely able to survive in bustling Seoul, who escape to the woman’s village of origin. There her dying grandmother gives them a gift that becomes, under their loving care, an international craze and eventually spurs them to escape again. These three stories are the work of a fiction writer of the very highest order. --Ray Olson

Product Details

  • File Size: 374 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (May 22, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00756T2A6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,725 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read beyond and look behind February 21, 2011
By Darby
Had I read the review before this one I am writing, I never would have opened this book. However, I'll be reading it as a volunteer for a group that records for the blind and dyslexic (RFBD) and I forged through the first of 3 stories. Dark, very dark and disturbing - a tumult of inner pain and loss, yes. Not easy to read, yes. But brilliant writing rooted deep in history and a portend of what yet may happen as we march forward with might and military force into the lives of innocents. Would I recommend it for children? Nope. But, for the adult reader who wants to experience amazing writing and the boldest of imagry, this is a literary gem. I only hope I can do it justice in my recording. I felt compelled to add this since the previous 'reviewer' deigned to write after reading a "few pages" and panned the entire work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primary Text; Not General Reading April 13, 2013
I'm using the three stories contained in Ch'oe's book as primary text for a literary project about the changing consciousness of South Koreans in a post-colonial society. Would I recommend these stories for a quick, relaxing reading? No. How about for individuals simply interested in gaining a glimpse of Korean culture, society, or general history? No. While Ch'oe's writing style and choice of topics are not for the general reader, I highly recommend these stories for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of an author's ability to utilize diverse literary techniques and language choice in order to create imagery relative to the overall topic. If you are interested in gaining a stronger grasp of Ch'oe's writing styles and context of the stories, I recommend searching for interviews about the text (include in search the translator(s) Fulton and/or Columbia University Press).
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2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars cultural difference??? February 8, 2009
I only can say that I could not read this book beyond a couple of pages - sorry - must be my expectations or cultural differences.

This book brings me back a a Korean movie I rented on a chance at Blockbuster with personages making dishes of the flesh of their friends - the most bizzare thing I paid for to watch - there were women neighbors who somehow got together and one was a victim of the other. I am sorry but it was an awful peace of crap - being asian myself - loving foreign/indy movies - still was a ....... so is this book. Hope some people like it!There a Petal Silently Falls: Three Stories by Ch'oe Yun (Weatherhead Books on Asia)
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