Reviews

Love in the Big City, by Sang Young Park

frasersimons's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This semi-plotless, gorgeously interior novel, comprised of a few short sections of specific relationships that are meaningful to the narrator, worked very well for me. The audiobook narration was fantastic. There’s a good balance of laugh-out-loud wry humour and sadness, typically stemming from naked vulnerability in an often contradictory manner. 

The moments of happiness and what is remembered even as things devolve into unhappiness is the kind of hope that works for me. I don’t find ever after or sickly sweet remotely resonant, whereas this feels like an experience that makes sense. 

The writing itself is always hard to evaluate with an audiobook. It flowed well, never overstayed its welcome, and though never had much diction, did have some exceptional specificity to ground the concrete details; both in terms of emotional circumstances and the physicality of the environment and its traversal. Would certainly pick up another book by the author. Heck of a deal too: Audible had it for something like $6? Wild. 

reverie_and_books's review against another edition

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hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

Love in the Big City by San Young Park, translated by Anton Hur - Review (🇬🇧)

“He was the first person who had ever gazed after me that way. For too long, I was caught up in the delusion that wherever I was and whatever I did, he would always be there behind me, waving.“

This novel is about Young, who freezes Marlboros for his best friend and in turn, she stocks frozen blueberries for him. It is about him caring for his sick mother, even though their dynamic is quite difficult. It is also about falling in and out of love, with wrong and right men. The title is very apt: it is about Love in the Big City and the many shapes it can take.

“Sometimes his very existence to me is the existence of love itself.”

The book consists of four parts which could stand on their own, their focus ever shifting. All are multilayered and feel very tangible — the author lets the reader very close. This feeling is probably propelled by Anton Hurs translation: in his thoughtful afterword he describes how very familiar this novel felt to his own experiences as a young gay man in Seoul.

It was a quick read. It’s hazy, a bit sad, a tad hopeful, neither shocking nor euphemistic. It feels autobiographical, but it isn’t fully. I liked the writing style, the way the narration is (not entirely) structured. 

“An excess of self-awareness was a disease in itself.”

I appreciated these pages a lot. They felt so very personal. For me, it was a 4 ⭐️ read - but please consider my rating as even more subjective than usual.


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

hawaii79's review

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

brittn's review

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dark reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

astridimogen's review

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emotional reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

templedaniel's review

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i don't think i really clicked with the writing style! i may come back to it later bc i did like the premise but once you're dreading even looking at the book on your nightstand that's when you know its time to let it go...

jabulko's review

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adventurous emotional inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

alexvictoria's review against another edition

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

annakm's review against another edition

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emotional funny sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

bloomingeyes's review

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challenging dark funny reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0