CHANGING HANDS BOOK CLUB
Found in Translation: Friend: A Novel from North Korea by Nam-Nyong Paek, translated by Immanuel Kim
7:00PM MST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
LOCATION: ONLINE
book cover
found in translation



This club meeting will be hosted online as part of our virtual event series.

This month we'll discuss Friend: A Novel from North Korea by Nam-Nyong Paek, translated by Immanuel Kim.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler, a voracious reader, or a dreamer who wants to see the world, all are invited to our newest book club focused on international literature. Sometimes visiting other countries doesn't always give travelers an insider's view into foreign cultures; sometimes we are still too outside, too different, to get at the heart of a place. Often the best way to understand distant lands and peoples is to read their literature, to get inside the head of a foreign author, to hear their myths and fairy tales molded around words they penned in their mother tongue.

In Found in Translation, we will delve into a work of international literature in a small group setting.

RSVP below or directly on Eventbrite here.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Paek Nam-nyong's Friend is a tale of marital intrigue, abuse, and divorce in North Korea. A woman in her thirties comes to a courthouse petitioning for a divorce. As the judge who hears her statement begins to investigate the case, the story unfolds into a broader consideration of love and marriage. The novel delves into its protagonists' past, describing how the couple first fell in love and then how their marriage deteriorated over the years. It chronicles the toll their acrimony takes on their son and their careers alongside the story of the judge's own marital troubles.

A best-seller in North Korea, where Paek continues to live and write, Friend illuminates a side of life in the DPRK that Western readers have never before encountered. Far from being a propagandistic screed in praise of the Great Leader, Friend describes the lives of people who struggle with everyday problems such as marital woes and workplace conflicts. Instead of socialist-realist stock figures, Paek depicts complex characters who wrestle with universal questions of individual identity, the split between public and private selves, the unpredictability of existence, and the never-ending labor of maintaining a relationship. This groundbreaking translation of one of North Korea's most popular writers offers English-language readers a page-turner full of psychological tension as well as a revealing portrait of a society that is typically seen as closed to the outside world.