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CONCERNING MY DAUGHTER (working title)

Kim Hye-jin

  • Original Title: CONCERNING MY DAUGHTER
  • Publication date: September 2017
  • Publisher: Minumsa Publishing Group
  • Country: KR
  • 216 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: South Korea
  • Themes: FAMILY, Dysfunctional family, Maternity, Filiation, Homosexuality, PEOPLE facing life, Life change, Looking back on one's life, Old age, Death, Facing failure, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Injustice, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Homophobia, Discriminations, Power, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, Commitment, Accepting differences, Intolerance, CHARACTERS, Minorities, Exclusion

Pitch

A middle-aged Korean woman with conservative views tries to cope with her daughter and her daughter's female partner when they come to live with her. She works as a care worker responsible for a senior with no other family, and the novel explores universal fears of ageing, death, and isolation.

Comments

Translation rights sold: Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Czech Republic

70,000 copies sold in Korea

The novel won the most prestigious literary award in South Korea, the Shin Dong-yeup Literary Award.

Kim Hye-jin is a South Korean writer. Her short story Chicken Run won Dong-A Ilbo’s Spring Literary Award in 2012 and CENTRAL STATION won Joong-Ang Literary Award for Novels. Her short story collection OBI was shortlisted for the Kim Jun Sung Literary Award. She was featured on Words Without Borders in a piece on New Korean Queer Writing.

Summary

A novel charting the evolution of a mother - one who is a sixty-something woman with a gay daughter, as well as a care worker responsible for a senior with no other family.

An ageing mother reluctantly lets her 30-something daughter and her girlfriend move into her apartment. The mother is a carer in a nursing home where she minds an older woman with an advanced stage of dementia, someone who was once successful and is now facing a lonely and humiliating end. The daughter works in a Catholic funded college that has just fired some teachers for being gay, and is putting herself in the spotlight by publicly demonstrating against it. The three women live under the same roof, even though the mother refuses to acknowledge her daughter's relationship and its mere existence, which causes her great pain and suffering. Slowly, a series of events take place inside and outside the house that force the mother to see her daughter differently and, finally, to see herself differently too. CONCERNING MY DAUGHTER is narrated chronologically, starting with an ice-cold, brutally bare, calm voice, full of impotent rage, which, as the novel advances, turns into a surprisingly warm, heartfelt and moving confession. It shows how highly conservative South Korea is despite what may seem.

The impotent rage the mother feels when confronted with her daughter’s sexual orientation, not only taps into the complexities of mother-daughter dynamics, but also the systemic issues and obstacles obstructing LGBTQ communities in heteronormative-leaning societies. At the same time, the author inflames our most universal fears on ageing, death, and isolation even as she writes calmly, even lyrically of the senile patient whose fate rests with a woman who is technically little better than a stranger to her.

Reports available
English translation available

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  • Author’s biography

    Kim Hye-jin (born 1983) is a South Korean writer. Her short story Chicken Run won Dong-A Ilbo’s Spring Literary Award in 2012 and CENTRAL STATION won Joong-Ang Literary Award for Novels. Her short story collection OBI was shortlisted for the Kim Jun Sung Literary Award. She was featured on Words Without Borders in a piece on New Korean Queer Writing.