Ch'oe Yun is a Korean author known for her breathtaking
versatility, subversion of authority, and bold exploration of the
inner life. Readers celebrate her creative play with fantasy and
admire her deep engagement with trauma, history, and the vagaries
In this collection's title work, There a Petal Silently
Falls, Ch'oe explores both the genesis and the aftershocks of
historical outrages such as the Kwangju Massacre of 1980, in which
a reported 2,000 civilians were killed for protesting government
military rule. The novella follows the wanderings of a girl
traumatized by her mother's murder and strikes home the injustice
of state-sanctioned violence against men and especially women.
"Whisper Yet" illuminates the harsh treatment of leftist
intellectuals during the years of national division, at the same
time offering the hope of reconciliation between ideological
enemies. The third story, "The Thirteen-Scent Flower," satirizes
consumerism and academic rivalries by focusing on a young man and
woman who engender an exotic flower that is coveted far and wide
for its various fragrances.
Elegantly crafted and quietly moving, Ch'oe Yun's stories are
among the most incisive portrayals of the psychological and
spiritual reality of post-World War II Korea. Her fiction, which
began to appear in the late 1980s, represents a turn toward a more
experimental, deconstructionist, and postmodern Korean style of
writing, and offers a new focus on the role of gender in the making
of Korean history.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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