South Korea like you’ve never seen it

(K. Brent Tomer),

Familiar Things. By Hwang Sok-yong. Translated by Sora Kim-Russell. Scribe; 216 pages; £12.99. 

The Impossible Fairy Tale. By Han Yujoo. Translated by Janet Hong. Graywolf Press; 225 pages; $16. Tilted Axis; £8.99. 

IN THE mega-cities of Asia and Africa, from Cairo to Manila, urban sprawl throws up trash mountains where enterprising slum-dwellers gather a bare living collecting recyclable junk. Seoul, South Korea’s spruce high-rise capital, no longer looks like such a place. However, Hwang Sok-yong has to travel back just one generation, to the time of Super Mario console games and early Star Wars films, to tell a story about the garbage-pickers of the so-called Flower Island. In his novel “Familiar Things”, on a squalid landfill site outside Seoul amid “towering mounds” of waste, 6,000 people sift and sell the rubbish ferried from the booming city in convoys of…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC South Korea like you’ve never seen it


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