Translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
‘Hwang Sok-yong is undoubtedly the most powerful voice of the novel in Asia today’
Kenzaburō Ōe, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
In the North Korean city of Chongjin, a seventh daughter is born in 1983 to a couple longing for a son. Abandoned hours after her birth, she is dragged away by the family dog and eventually rescued by her grandmother. The old woman names the child “Bari”, after a Korean legend telling of a similarly forsaken princess who undertakes a quest for an elixir that will bring peace to the souls of the dead.
Bari, who has inherited her grandmother’s extraordinary intuitive powers and the ability to see apparitions, escapes famine and desolation in North Korea as a delicate but brave adolescent. She finds refuge in China before embarking on the sort of journey made by thousands in our time: across the ocean in the hold of a cargo ship, bound for London and, it is hoped, for a better life.
WHY WE LOVE THIS BOOK
It’s impossible to avoid falling in love with Hwang’s resilient heroine. This novel revels in the power of myth amidst the grim events of its characters’ lives, but Bari herself is hauntingly real. Her story is by turns tense, moving, sad and uplifting.
Paperback • 204mm x 138mm • ISBN 9781859641743 • 304 pages • £9.99