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East Asia Program, Cornell University, 2005 - Fiction - 172 pages
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Contradictions is a coming-of-age tale that explores the paradoxes and contradictions of the human condition and delves into the meaning of personal happiness. The book opens with a moment of epiphany as the main character An Jin-jin awakens to the realization that her entire energy must be devoted to her own life. She struggles over whom to marry with an awareness of consequences gleaned from seeing the divergence in the lives of twin sisters—her mother and her aunt. A host of binary oppositions is also presented in the lives of the men around her: a wannabe gang boss brother, an Ivy League cousin, an alcoholic schizophrenic father, a steadfast but rigid uncle, and her two suitors. Yang skillfully develops these characters in increasingly complex threads as the novel unfolds in a series of surprises.

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About the author (2005)

YANG Gui-ja is one of Korea's major literary figures of the last generation, with a succession of literary prizes and best-sellers to her credit. Her most representative early work, the 1987 Wonmi-dong saramdeul, is available in English as A Distant and Beautiful Place. In the 1990s her writing took an increasingly personal turn with a series of popular works including Contradictions (Mosun), South Korea's best-selling novel in 1998.Stephen Epstein is both Director of the Asian Studies Institute and a Senior Lecturer in the Classics Programme at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He has translated several pieces of Korean and Indonesian fiction, including the winner of the 1990 Korea Times translation contest in the short story category. Kim Mi-Young is currently pursuing advanced degrees in English literature and the Teaching of English as a Second Language at Victoria University. In addition to Contradictions, she has translated short stories by award-winning authors Park Wan-suh and Kim In-suk.

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