I'll Be Right There: A Novel

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Other Press, LLC, Jun 3, 2014 - Fiction - 320 pages
How friendship, European literature, and a charismatic professor defy war, oppression, and the absurd
Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I’ll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to re-live the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief.
Yoon’s formative experiences, which highlight both the fragility and force of personal connection in an era of absolute uncertainty, become immediately palpable. Shin makes the foreign and esoteric utterly familiar: her use of European literature as an interpreter of emotion and experience bridges any gaps between East and West. Love, friendship, and solitude are the same everywhere, as this book makes poignantly clear.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - croknot1 - LibraryThing

First I liked it, then I didn't like it much, but by the end, I loved it. We get to know Jung Yoon, and some of her friends while she is in college in Korea. We get brief glimpses of her childhood ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Laura.Rose.W. - LibraryThing

To me, I'll Be Right There was more of a feeling than it was a story. I wasn't reading words as much as I was reading someone's hard felt emotions. Reading and feeling, for a while, became one and ... Read full review

Selected pages


Chapter 1 Parting
Chapter 2Water
Chapter 3We
Chapter 4To
Chapter 5City Walls
Empty House
Chapter 7Bottom of theStairs
Chapter 8ASingle SmallBoat Chapter 9IfWe Hug A Hundred Strangers
Authors Note

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About the author (2014)

Kyung-sook Shin, the author of seventeen works of is one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. Her best seller Please Look After Mom has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has been honored with the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Manhae Prize, the Dong-in Literary Award, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, and France’s Prix de l’Inaperçu, as well as the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts, awarded for her body of work for general achievement in Korean culture and the arts.
Sora kim-Russell is a poet and translator originally from California and now living in Seoul, South Korea. Her work has appeared in Words Without Borders, Azalea: A Journal of Korean Literature and Culture, Drunken Boat, Pebble Lake Review, The Diagram, and other publications. She teaches at Ewha Womans University.

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