Publication Date: 14/04/2022 ISBN: 9781474623544 Category:


Kyung-Sook Shin, Anton Hur

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication Date: 14/04/2022 ISBN: 9781474623544 Category:




Translated by Anton Hur

‘Violets lavishes attention on the kind of person who often slips through the cracks, unseen or ignored. There is a beauty and a bravery in speaking for small lives’ Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You

South Korea, 1970.

San is a lonely child, ostracised from her community. She soon finds a friend in a girl called Namae, until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path.

We next meet San, aged twenty-two, when she happens upon a job at a flower shop in Seoul’s bustling city centre. Over the course of one hazy, volatile summer, San is introduced to a curious cast of characters – the mute shop owner, a brash co-worker, kind farmers and aggressive customers – and, fuelled by a quiet desperation to jump-start her life, she plunges headfirst into obsession with a passing magazine photographer.

Throughout it all, San’s moment with Namae continues to linger in the back of her mind.

A story of thwarted desire, misogyny and erasure, Violets reveals the high stakes involved in one woman’s desperate search for both autonomy and attachment in an unforgiving society.

Publisher Review

Mesmerising, dreamlike and prescient in its sharpness and attentiveness to the dynamics between women and the male and female gaze. VIOLETS feels utterly contemporary and recalls the work of Mariana Enriquez and Dorthe Nors -- Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti Darkly beautiful, Violets explores the toll of abandonment and the relentless marginalization of a helpless young woman. The protagonist, San, shivers with insecurity and loneliness but still dares, briefly, to dream of friendship and a normal life. Shin writes of the cruelty and dangers of disempowerment, and an ensuing spiral of despair -- Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face Violets lavishes attention on the kind of person who often slips through the cracks, unseen or ignored. There is a beauty and a bravery in speaking for small lives -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You Kyung-sook Shin has a way of seeing past the smooth surface of societal appearance and into the fragile, obscure psychological space that lies just beneath, where her characters ache in ways that feel both recognizable and possessed of deep insight. I don't know if I've ever read a book that so masterfully captures the subtle desperation of seeking a desire that can be your own in a fast-changing world -- Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun An intimate portrait of isolation and unspoken desire. Darkly poetic, dreamlike and meditative, Kyung-Sook Shin's spellbinding tale captures the invisible life and longing of a country girl trapped in a rapidly changing city -- Adelle Stripe, author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile As a beautiful window on San's world Violets is like a perfectly detailed painting, but it also tells the heart-rending story of a hurt child growing up as a lonely outsider. For me now, with her tragedy so well-realised, Violets will stay with me, and those flowers will always make me think of her -- Vashti Bunyan Shin Kyung Sook tells us a story which takes place both in a foreign land and in a very familiar space in our hearts. Human beings' everlasting agony of "longing to belong" presents itself in every page of this book with intensity and with beauty. A subtle, deep, unique work of true literature -- Defne Suman, author of The Silence of Scheherazade Violets is a moving delve into a lonely psyche, with writing raw and sophisticated, tenderhearted and clear-eyed. Vividly translated by Anton Hur, Shin Kyung-sook's novel is also an intimate, sideways portrait of Seoul through the eyes of a rural outsider who roams the bright lights and big city not in pursuit of ambitious dreams, but seeking care and human touch -- YZ Chin, author of Edge Case Violets is an aching, atmospheric novel about grief and longing. Oh San, our main character, navigates a life of haunting loneliness and yet she finds tender moments of true beauty. In this slim and powerful book, Kyung-Sook Shin deftly explores the violence of life - of shedding childhood, of becoming a woman, of searching for identity in a shifting world. A beautiful translation by Anton Hur. Go read this book! -- Crystal Hana Kim, author of If you Leave Me The beauty of Kyung-sook Shin's prose is in its expert weave of immersion, precision and surprise. The narrative ground of San, our unlikely but necessary heroine, may be fraught with unseen tensions yet the writing is as smooth as a finished surface. Despite being consistently tyrannized and quieted by her surroundings, San carries within her an indefatigable fire, a persistence to be. San represents so many women whose stories are never told -- Weike Wang, author of Chemistry Shin is known for revealing the ways in which her culture oppresses and isolates people - especially women * Kirkus * [Anton] Hur, who made his translated-novel debut with Shin's The Court Dancer (2018) and became an award-winning Korean-to-English powerhouse, returns to adroitly cipher her latest impressive import. With this trigger-warning-worthy tale, Man Asian Literary Prize-winning Shin delivers another meticulous, haunting characterization of an isolated young woman in crisis * Booklist (starred) * 'A disturbing and evocative look at an isolated young woman . . . With sensuous prose intuitively translated by [Anton] Hur, Shin vividly captures San's tragic failure to connect with others. This is hard to put down' * Publishers Weekly *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible