Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Winter in Sokcho

Contrasts. In her debut novel titled, Winter in Sokcho, Elisa Shua Dusapin structures a variety of contrasts for our close examination. Set on the border between North and South Korea, we start with that dramatic geographic and cultural contrast. The protagonist is a young French Korean woman who is the receptionist at a guesthouse. Her mother works at a fishmarket and has the skills to prepare those fish that could be venomous to eat should others wield the knife improperly. A French cartoonist arrives at the guesthouse and develops a constrained relationship with the receptionist, as Dusapin mines their differences to contrast their lives. When they travel together, the inspiration he seeks never seems to be discovered. He avoids the reception’s offer to cook for him. We anticipate the culmination of all the contrasts of life and death as he prepares to leave the guesthouse. Fans of literary fiction are those readers most likely to enjoy this novel. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Winter in Sokcho from

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