The Guest

The Guest

Book - 2005
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Based on actual events, The Guest is a profound portrait of a divided people haunted by a painful past, and a generation's search for reconciliation.
During the Korean War, Hwanghae Province in North Korea was the setting of a gruesome fifty-two day massacre. In an act of collective amnesia the atrocities were attributed to American military, but in truth they resulted from malicious battling between Christian and Communist Koreans. Forty years later, Ryu Yosop, a minister living in America returns to his home village, where his older brother once played a notorious role in the bloodshed. Besieged by vivid memories and visited by the troubled spirits of the deceased, Yosop must face the survivors of the tragedy and lay his brother's soul to rest.
Faulkner-like in its intense interweaving narratives, The Guest is a daring and ambitious novel from a major figure in world literature.
Publisher: New York : Seven Stories Press, c2005
Edition: Seven Stories Press 1st ed
ISBN: 9781583226933
1583226931
Branch Call Number: FIC
895.73 H991s
Characteristics: 237 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: West, Maya
Chun, Kyung-Ja 1945-

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lukasevansherman
Aug 17, 2018

"The Guest is a fitting title for a novel that explores the arrival and effects of Christianity and Marxism in a country where both were initially as foreign as smallpox."-from the introdcution
The Korean War, which lasted for a few years in the early 50s (Although it's never officially ended.), is sometimes called "the forgotten war" and exists at the margins, if it all, in the American imagination. Hwang Sok-Yong has been called the most prominent and respected living Korean writer. Highly political, he was imprisoned for traveling to North Korea to promote artistic exchange, but released after a global outcry. 2001's "The Guest" is a ghost story and a story of war. Given how critical it is of the United States' role in the war (The Sinchon Massacre is something I knew nothing about.), it's not surprising it's not widely known here. But he's unsparing in his assessment of war and the awful things people do to win it and survive it. For more historical background, Bruce Cumings' book on the Korean War is an excellent introduction. "God, too, has sinned."

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