Reviews tagging Chronic illness

Love in the Big City, by Sang Young Park

5 reviews

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.


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yellowatelier's review

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

5.0


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afion's review against another edition

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4.0


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rieviolet's review against another edition

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emotional funny 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

4.0

I was very much impressed by the first and second sections ("Jaehee" and "A Bite of Rockfish, Taste the Universe"). I found that the author did really well in exploring the main character's thoughts and feelings and translating them onto the page. So many episodes (especially those that had to do with prejudice and discrimination, and with his relationship with his mother) affected me deeply and broke my heart. 

I didn't like as much the third and fourth sections ("Love in the Big City" and "Late Rainy Season Vacation"). I think those parts just resonated less with me and I wasn't as much captured by the narrative (which sometimes jumped a little confusingly between time lines) and by its style. 
The ending felt a little bit abrupt, I wasn't expecting nor I actually wanted a perfect resolution (I think it would have clashed too much with the overall tone of the novel and the narrative line), I just would've liked it to finish at a different point, in a slightly different way.
Also, I really liked the main character's sense of humour, his funny and a bit dry voice made for a very engaging narrative but I think that this wittiness was more evident in the first section and then became a bit more sparse in the following ones. 

All in all, this was a really good book and I'm very glad I've got to read about the experience of queerness in South Korea. 

I have to briefly mention the "Acknowledgements" section because reading the author's own words made me really emotional. I especially loved and was moved by the very last paragraphs.

When I write - or when I'm going about my day - I sometimes feel as vague and uncertain as if I'm all alone wandering through a cloud of dust, but sometimes I feel a warmth, like my hands have touched something. I want to call that something love. I know all too well how this emotion called love, how the word itself, can easily crumble into nothing, but all I can do is tightly grip this tiny bit of warmth and embrace it with all my might. Just so I can live on as myself. Just so I can live this life as myself and myself alone.

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internationalreads's review

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

4.0


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