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Lessons Hard Learned: Na Krayu Zhizni by Cheon Myeong-kwan


The novel Na Krayu Zhizni (Aging Family), written by the well-known writer Cheon Myeong-kwan, introduces us to the life of a small Korean family. A mother, sons, a daughter, and a granddaughter are living with difficulties, haunted by a series of misfortunes, losses, and trouble. In-mo, the younger son in the family, narrates the story. He is a 48-year-old intellectual who likes to ruminate on his life and ruins himself by drinking. He once showed great promise in cinema, which made his family proud. Unfortunately, those expectations were not met and the very first movie he directed failed ignominiously; his wife left him and he went bankrupt. Unable to deal with failure, the frustrated filmmaker gradually goes to pieces drowning his sorrows in drink. In-mo no longer has any moral right to look down on his older brother Han-mo, who is constantly in and out of jail, nor his superficial sister Mi-yeon, the owner of a café with a dubious reputation.



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