Author(s): Kyung-Sook Shin; Ha-Yun Jung
Homesick and alone, a teen-aged girl has just arrived in Seoul to work in a factory. Her family, still in the countryside, is too impoverished to keep sending her to school, so she works long, sun-less days on a stereo-assembly line, struggling through night school every evening in order to achieve her dream of becoming a writer.
Korea's brightest literary star sets this complex and nuanced coming-of-age story against the backdrop of Korea's industrial sweatshops of the 1970's and takes on the extreme exploitation, oppression, and urbanization that helped catapult Korea's economy out of the ashes of war. But it was girls like Shin's heroine who formed the bottom of Seoul's rapidly changing social hierarchy, forgotten and ignored.
Richly autobiographical, The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness lays bare the conflict and confusion Shin faces as she confronts her past and the sweeping social change of the past half-century. Cited in Korea as one of the most important literary novels of the decade, this novel cements Shin's legacy as one of the most insightful and exciting writers of her generation.