05 Dec / Saha by Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang [in Booklist]
Town was once a fish-farm village, but it’s now internationally known for the corporation that aggressively expanded it into a bustling city-state. Here, class stratification is impermeable. Su is a Citizen. Do-kyung is a Saha, an inconsequential resident of the crumbling Saha Estates who “wasn’t anyone or anything deserving of a category.”
Now Su is dead in an abandoned car. Su and Do-kyung were lovers, living together in Unit 714. Do-kyung, of course, will be hunted by an unforgiving government. His fate is linked to the Sahas, their connections intricately, brilliantly revealed: Do-kyung’s sister Jin-kyung in Unit 701, bartender Sara in 214, a father and daughter in 205, Ia and his mother in 201, orphan-turned-caregiver Eunjin in 305, Granny Konnim and Woomi in 311, the old man in the custodian’s office, the old lady at the temp agency.
Korean writer Cho Nam-Joo and lauded Seoul-based translator Jamie Chang reunite following Cho’s global bestseller, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award. Originally published in Korea in 2019, Cho’s sophomore import feels especially, eerily urgent, with prescient references to a fatal pandemic. An established scriptwriter before she became a bestselling author, Cho presents a chilling, dystopic fable of corporate greed, climate destruction, and haves and have-nots revelations that seems perfectly poised for film adaptation.
Published: 2019 (Korea), 2022 (United States)