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Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers (DEL-Anthologies) Paperback – February 17, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The seven works here, whose three authors make their U.S. debut, are interesting primarily for their illumination of contemporary South Korean mores. In Kim Chi-won's "A Certain Beginning," a Korean who moves to New York after her affluent husband divorces her enters into a contract marriage with a young Korean student who needs a green card to stay in America; their tentative encounters reveal not only their individual psychologies but Korean attitudes toward love and matrimony. In the title piece, by O Chong-hui, a woman takes her daughter and young grandson on a day trip to a cemetery to view the plots she has selected; in a parallel narrative, the ghostly presence of the daughter's fugitive husband supplies an unexpected tension. While Kim Chi-won and O Chong-hui both depict intense loneliness and pent-up emotions, Kang Sok-kyong's novella "A Room in the Woods," less compelling than the other entries, relies on external events to build drama; she chronicles a well-to-do Seoul family whose experiences do not seem particular to their culture--one daughter is on the verge of marrying while another drops out of college.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English, Korean (translation)

Product Details

  • Series: DEL-Anthologies
  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; First Printing edition (February 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0931188768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0931188763
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
In Kang Sok-Kyong's short story, Days and Dreams, she is able to delineate an entirely new society that exists within Korea. A society that formed as a result of blatant geopolitical decisions imposed by a foreign country. She describes the lifestyle and culture of the female Korean prostitute communities that have developed around American military bases. Kang accurately depicts the nothingness that many of these women, such as the main character have come from, and the equally poor and yet more dehumanizing lifestyle they live out now. The narrator of the story came from a family ravaged by the war and ironically makes a living now by exploiting herself to these soldiers, apparently keeping peace and security for her country. Yet for many of these women in the story, that individual sense of security is what is lacking from many of their lives. Even one of the characters, Sun-ja goes to extreme circumstances to pose as a lesbian just to marry an American woman to relieve herself of her the situation she was currently in. Kang accurately describes the inhumane treatment that many of these women are put up, sometimes even by their own family members in order to pay a sibling's tuition or something of the sort. The narrator describes the tragic rape and murder of a friend who was killed by a Korean man. When upon asking what his motives were in the killing, he simply said that "she'd lived it up with the GIs and then give him leftover sex." All she essentially gave him was some leftovers by foreigners. Kang basically centralizes her story on the notion of Korea, being a country dependent upon "living off other countries' leftovers.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By on November 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
Having spent 1988-1993 in Korea with IBM, I began the collection of short stories with a strong cultural understanding. The stories vary from prostitution and the US Military (rate 5) to the very well crafted "A Room In The Woods" (definite 10) which uncovers the generation gap in modern Korea. "A Room In The Woods" is well worth the price of the book. A must for those interested in Korean culture.
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