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The Land of the Banished


This book may be one of the most depressing books in Korean modern literature, and to say that is to say quite a great deal. It is also one of the best and most touching as its depressing quality comes from a very real history, a story told in a most human and comprehensible way, and a main character who is as believable as he is tragic.. While much of Korean separation literature is depressing in a wind-up to way, that is to say that society spins the toys and they work their way to predictable ends, in Land of the Banished society is surely winding the toys up, but the toys all have their own wills, desires, and flaws, and it is precisely when all these influences come into confluence that humans do their worst work. The Land of the Banished is also a kind of philosophical existential crisis contained in a crisis of existence. Finally, in Man-Seok, Jo Jung-rae has crafted that rarest of things, a Korean tragic hero in the Aristotelian sense.



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