Homesick and alone, a teenaged girl has just arrived in Seoul to work in a factory. Her family, still in the countryside, is too impoverished to keep sending her to school, so she works long, sunless days on a stereo-assembly line, struggling through night school every evening in order to achieve her dream of becoming a writer.
“’The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness includes many flashbacks, even as the main narrative is set in the present. Shin’s treatment of time could have been disconcerting — the flashbacks could become wearisome, but they don’t, illustrating instead the narrator’s trauma.”
“Though the autobiographical novel is a well-worn genre, Shin (translated from the Korean by Ha-yun Jung) handles it with the sort of effortless ruthlessness a story like this requires, without letting either the narrator or the reader rest easy about the line between truth and fiction.”