Best of Backlist Short Fiction from the Weatherhead Books on Asia Series: River of Fire and Other Stories and There A Petal Silently Falls

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Haunting, painful and affirming, full of illusions and hallucinations while rooted in the graphically physical…. Everything about Yun’s work is brilliant.
~Publishers Weekly (starred review)

for There a Petal Silently Falls

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Continuing our celebration of the works of female authors for Women in Translation Month, today we are featuring two short story collections translated from Korean into English for our Weatherhead Books on Asia series by husband and wife duo Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton.

First up is River of Fire and Other Stories by O Chŏnghŭi, translated by Bruce Fulton and Ju-Chan Fulton.

O Chŏnghŭi is one of Korea’s most prominent short story fiction writers, whose work has invited rich comparisons with the achievements of Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, and Virginia Woolf. As the Fulton’s recount in their afterword, she was one of the first Korean writers to receive training in creative writing at the university level and was one of the first writers to capture both of the major Korean prizes for short fiction and novellas.

In the collections title story, “River of Fire,” an unnamed narrator looks back at life after the war. Reflecting back on her marriage and the different layers of destruction that have made the  modern city.

 

Next up, is There a Petal Silently Falls: Three Stories by Ch’oe Yun, translated by Bruce Fulton and Ju-Chan Fulton.

The title story from the collection, “There a Petal Silently Falls,” was originally published in a magaizine in 1988 and was Ch’oe’s very first published work of literature. As the Fulton’s mention in their afterword: “In its sophisticated and polyphonic narrative, its inspiration by one of the most horrific events in modern Korean history, and its skillful treatment of trauma, There a Petal Silently Falls is one of the strongest debut works in modern Korean literature.” The story was even adapted into a film in 1996 by director Jang Sun-Woo titled A Petal.

The story follows the wanderings of a girl traumatized by her mother’s death during the 1980 Kwangju Massacre, in which a reported 2,000 civilians were killed for protesting government military rule.

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