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I'm Waiting for You: And Other Stories Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto where she studies and translates Korean literature. Her research focuses on women authors writing during the post-Korean War dictatorships and her translations of Korean fiction have been published in Clarkesworld, Guernica, Koreana and Korean Literature Now magazines.
Sung Ryu is a translator based in Singapore. Her translations include Shoko's Smile by Choi Eunyoung (2021), Tower by Bae Myung-hoon (2021), and the Korean edition of Grandma Moses: My Life's History (2017) by Anna Mary Robertson Moses. She translated the Jeju myth "Segyeong Bonpuri" (Origins of the Harvest Deities) for her MA thesis.
"Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix...it leads us to this original structure and cinematic experience."-- "Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B08CR6J7XN
- Publisher : Harper Voyager (April 6, 2021)
- Publication date : April 6, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 4259 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 314 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0062951467
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #279,676 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a mind-expanding collection of speculative fiction formed by two pairs of interconnected stories which Bo-young explores the driving forces of humanity - love, hope, relationship, creation, destruction, identity and the search for the meaning of existence.
In "I'm waiting for you" and "On my way to you", it is a story about a groom and a bride who will get married after they are back from their space voyage. We get to see different perception of time and space (since the bride would have to wait 4 months and the groom, 4 and half years to see each other again) and some things happen like delay and stellar system travel. Both collections contain letters between the couple and reading them made me feel less attached to the material things and value person/sentiments. Ultimately, it left me sad and hopeful.
In "The prophet of corruption" and "That one life", it is rather an elaborative worldbuilding where people forge bonds, merge (with people or inanimate things) and divide into different entities. While in the Dark Realm (world of the dead), it is debated teaching methods, there's a reincarnation training which students are sent to the world of living (Lower Realm) to go through tests in order to learn lessons. Dark Realm doesn't intervene with Lower Realm and both have different perspectives of the meaning of life.
Bo-young paints meaningful observations on the existentialism, using complex concepts involving religion, prophets, realm, disciple, corruption and next life that brought me a philosophical and spiritual experience. I recognized some sci-fi/fantasy elements also shared in Chinese mythology while there were unexpected new concepts that fascinated me. If you are not used to reading very abstract ideas, you might find it a bit hard to digest.
In short, I found this collection utterly refreshing, thought-provoking and I was overall very satisfied. I would highly recommend it to readers who love a well-written sci-fi or those wanting to read incredible unique stories.
P.S.: make sure to read the author's note at the end
[ I received a complimentary copy from the publisher - Harper Voyager - exchange for an honest review ]
So Bo-Young Kim wrote several short stories/novelettes into this book, but the only ones that I think matter is the first one "I'm Waiting for you" and the last one, "On My Way”. They sandwich a few stories that I’ll be honest, went way over my head. I’m a simple fellow, and Kim writes with complex thought and characterization. That’s a strength, not a deficiency. Just a little too complex for me.
This book still gets my highest rating because of the first and last story. Sweet powers of justice, you have to read this. Get. It. Now.
You’ll have your heart broken by two lovers, separated by billions of miles and years of earth time as they desperately struggle to find each other. You’ll have a lump in your throat as the first story ends and the situation looks bleak (though there is a complete story and it’s good…just heart-wrenching). You’ll have anger and sympathy and you’ll think of the other character as a hero of her own story in the second story because she finds a way to keep fighting even though all hope looks lost.
And that ending. That freaking ending. I just set my kindle down carefully on my bed, said a few choice words, and basked in the afterglow of one of the greatest stories I’ve ever read.
One of the greatest stories I’ve ever read.
The first and last stories are from the perspective of an engaged couple. One is traveling back from Alpha Centauri, so rather than wait the few years for her to return, the other decides to board a spaceship that’ll accelerate up to light speed – meaning that it’ll only be a few months for him. But even when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to, he continues to hope that she’ll wait for him. The story is told through fifteen letters to his fiancé and is a powerhouse of emotion: hope, despair, resiliency. Despite the circumstances keeping them apart, he keeps doing his best to get back to her, eagerly waiting for and anticipating the day he’ll see her again, even while it feels like he’s the only human left in the universe.
The middle set of stories were a little more opaque. Earth is a training ground created by a set of beings who divide themselves and send themselves there to learn. The stories are told from the point of view of Naban, a Teacher whose numerous experiences have led them towards asceticism. Their views, however, are in conflict with some of the other more popular Teachers, who instead prefer to spend their Earth lives accruing power and money. This story was harder to get in to and was more overtly philosophical in nature. The second of the stories in the set is a direct continuation of the first, but was more traditional in structure and much less abstract. I didn’t enjoy these as much as the other pair of stories, even though in some ways they’re exploring some of the same sort of ideas, and I’m probably going to blame that on pandemic brain.
The last story is the bookend to the collection, a matching set of fifteen letters from the fiancée’s point of view. While much of what the first narrator has to overcome is his complete isolation from other people, for the woman, hell is other people. She goes through the same set of emotions as him, though, and perseveres through it all with the hope of seeing her fiancé again. I almost liked this one better than the first, as it was intriguing seeing the same events through her eyes, and I loved HUN the AI.
There’s also a series of author’s notes and translators’ notes at the end that explain a little more in depth about the creation of these stories and how they were translated, and it was definitely especially helpful for understanding more about the middle set of stories.
Overall, I’d give the collection as a whole around 3.5 stars, and I’ll definitely be looking for more work from this author in translation!
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.