RaveThe Guardian (UK)... takes the measure of the complex bond and the impassable, yet tender, interval between mother and daughter ... Her prose is a vivid performance, moving from self-deprecating to attentive, with textured descriptions of the aesthetic and felt qualities of any moment. Although we learn that it’s Peter who has \'read all seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time\', through her writing Zauner performs the work of creative memory that recovers and transmutes the past into something liveable, with verve and honesty ... it seems that in her art, she has found the tricky yet transformative key to her inheritance.
Cho Nam-Joo, trans. Jamie Chang
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)This Korean bestseller chronicles the everyday struggle of women against endemic sexism. Its provocative power springs from the same source as its total, crushing banality ... What does it mean to narrate a life in a strictly chronological fashion? The linearity of the account feels claustrophobic, with the case-study style objectifying Jiyoung and stripping her of her interiority. Cho’s formal excision of any sense of imaginative possibility is highly effective in creating an airless, unbearably dull world in which Jiyoung’s madness makes complete sense. Her derangement is the only way out of the cramped paradox of gender-based roles ... The first Korean novel in nearly a decade to sell more than 1m copies, it has become both a touchstone for a conversation around feminism and gender and a lightning rod for anti-feminists who view the book as inciting misandry ... The character of Kim Jiyoung can be seen as a sort of sacrifice: a protagonist who is broken in order to open up a channel for collective rage. Along with other socially critical narratives to come out of Korea, such as Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasite, her story could change the bigger one.