I'll Be Right There
A NovelPaperback - 2013
Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I'll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to re-live the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief.
Yoon's formative experiences, which highlight both the fragility and force of personal connection in an era of absolute uncertainty, become immediately palpable. Shin makes the foreign and esoteric utterly familiar- her use of European literature as an interpreter of emotion and experience bridges any gaps between East and West. Love, friendship, and solitude are the same everywhere, as this book makes poignantly clear.
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From Library Staff
Korean novelist Shin returns with another beautifully written novel, this time set during the tumultuous 80s of South Korea. Her lead character Jung Yoon thoughtfully unfolds the story of her youth and the relationships that were most dear to her in her formative years. As a university student sh... Read More »
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Whenever I refer to a certain time as 'long ago', I feel like I am walking somewhere. Maybe those things that we realize only after so much time has passed that we can describe them as 'long ago' are what we are made of.
Writers who died before the age of thirty-three...I savored the words in my head.
"You're probably now wondering why thirty-three. That's the age at which Jesus was crucified and Alexander the Great created his empire and died. After thirty-three, you can't really say you're young anymore. And don't we say that someone has died young when they die before the age of thirty-three? For artists, an early death is sometimes an honor."
Life demands sacrifice & difficult decisions from us at every moment. Living does not mean passing through a void of nothingness but rather through a web of relationships among beings, each with their own weight & volume & texture. Insofar as everything is always changing, so our sense of hope shall never die out. Therefore, I leave you all with one final thought: Live. Until you are down to your final breath, love & fight & rage & grieve & live.
Do not grieve for me. All things must come to an end--youth, pain, passion, emptiness, war, violence. Do the flowers not bloom and fade? Just as I came into being so must I pass out of existence. Look up to the sky. That's where the stars are. They are always shining there, whether we are gazing up at them, and whether we forget, and long after we die.
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