Spring On The Peninsula
For readers of contemporary Asian literature: Han Kang, Yuko Tsushima, Suah Bae, Taeko Kono, Mieko Kawakami, Yoko Tawada
A sexually fluid narrator mourns a failed relationship over the course of two harsh winters in this raw, unprecedented portrait of millennials living in Seoul.
The time is roughly now in Seoul, and Kai, a bisexual white-collar worker, has just been abandoned by his longtime lover. Follow him through the city’s alleyways as he reels from this sudden departure. Walk with him up snowy mountains where he contemplates ending his own life. That mourning can be both a sensuous and revelatory art is epitomized in the paths that Kai crosses and the lives he alters for better or worse.
Kai is not the only one feeling disoriented and aimless these days. Those in his inner circle similarly experience personal crises as they go through their thirties in a nation simmering with class and generational tensions, as well as the specter of new and old wars. The center of Kai’s heartbreak, Seoul in all of its millennial glory and turmoil, is brought to the forefront in austere, visceral prose.
Doing for Seoul what Kathy Acker and Constance de Jong once did for New York City, Ery Shin offers rare insight into the psyches of those in and around the margins, living under the contemporary geopolitical tensions of the peninsula—her characters are sexually fluid, depraved, nihilistic, impotent, prone to violence and obsessed with suicide. The result is a phantasmagorical story and a poignant meditation on queer life in a city beset by North Korea’s shadow.