The Reverse Side of Life

The Reverse Side of Life


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An extraordinary, highly acclaimed novel from Korea, revealing how the conflict of the secular and the divine manifests in the real world.

Bak Bugil's father is a genius. Everyone in the village expects him to pass the civil service examination and become a judge, but he hasn't been seen since he left to study in Seoul. Bak lives with his mother and his father's relations. At the end of a path that leads to the rear of their house is a persimmon tree and an old ramshackle hut. Children are forbidden by grownups to go near the tree, but Bak makes repeated incursions to collect the forbidden fruit. Finally, an encounter with the inhabitant of the hut changes his life forever. Decades later, a journalist (the narrator) is asked to write an article about one of South Korea's most unique writers, Bak Bugil. Initially reluctant, the journalist begins to develop a curiosity about Bak's past. Upon meeting Bak, it becomes clear that he finds childhood recollection painful and difficult, but the journalist knows that that if he is to write a single word about Bak it will be impossible without unearthing that history. Dealing with childhood shame, abandonment, rebellion, first love, and religious experimentation, this extraordinary novel cemented its author's reputation as one of the stars of South Korea's literary scene.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780720612592
Publisher: Owen, Peter Limited
Publication date: 05/17/2006
Edition description: Translatio
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Lee Seung-U is professor of Korean literature at Chosun University. He marked his writing début in 1981 by winning the Han’guk Munhak New Writer Prize for Portrait of Erysichton. He is the author of About an Eclipse, Gu Pyeong-mok’s Cockroach, In the Beginning Was Temptation, Legend of Love, Magnolia Park, People Don’t Even Know What Is In Their House, The Private Life of Plants, Shade of a Thornbush, Speculations on a Labyrinth, and Who Else is Inside Me? He was awarded the Daesan Literature Prize and the East West Literature Prize.

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