SHRAPNEL by Dong-ha Lee


and Other Stories
by , translated by
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The destructive impact of the Korean War on successive generations is vividly explored in five nicely varied stories by a seasoned Korean writer whom American readers will want to know more about. Lee’s subdued yet fascinating characters include adolescents at play who come across the body of a bull killed by stray military gunfire (“The Blazing Sun”); a bereaved nephew whose recall of his late uncle’s troubled life evokes a tangled family history of conflicting loyalties and carefully kept secrets (“Shrapnel”); and a politically suspect older man who leaves all he owns to the only creature that refuses to judge and shun him: his faithful dog (“Perspiration”). Even better is “Dark Valley,” the atmospheric tale of a middle-aged widower’s frustrated relationship with a phlegmatic woman who keeps inexplicably disappearing and returning (and who appears to be a symbolic embodiment of displacement, bereavement, and despair). Stark, challenging, memorable: the work of a superb literary talent.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-893996-53-0
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: White Pine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002


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