Reviews tagging Toxic relationship

Love in the Big City, by Sang Young Park

8 reviews

aidrielle's review

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

4.0

so good, and groundbreaking, really. some parts in the middle meandered a bit, but still overall a good read. the first part is the most captivating story i've read lately 

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yuna's review against another edition

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

3.0


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claudiamacpherson's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad 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


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thewordsdevourer's review against another edition

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emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

an understatedly melancholic yet adventurous book abt love, everyday struggles, and identity, love in the big city has surprising depth and emotional resonance, and is one that touches me deeply.

my caveats w/ the novel are its timeline and structure which are confusing at times, and the lack of continuity in characters and points of conflict between all the parts. for the latter, young's strained relationship w/ his mom is an example, as well as jaehee, who for such large a presence she has in young's life initially, basically disappears like 1/4 of the way.

aside from the aforementioned, however, i enjoy all other aspects of the novel. this book is funny and can be endearingly sweet, while also being scarily realistic in its depictions of struggles for one's dream, career, and everyday life. the bangkok setting later in the book's also delightfully surprising, and it's great seeing places from my own life feature quite prominently in a book i rly like.

the main character young has me endlessly rooting for him as he grapples w/ love and life, made doubly more complicated by his queer identity, and w/ reveals that shed more light on him in every part. there are no stereotypes and caricatures here, instead park delves into issues rarely touched upon - a minority w/in a minority - w/ young's HIV+ status and the normality yet ramifications of it, hampering young's life in frustrating ways.

what touches me most is perhaps young's relationship w/ gyu-ho, filled w/ both drama and mundanity that's multifaceted and refreshingly non-toxic. the naksan park scene is one that will stay w/ me, brimming w/ empathy and love. and although the ending is quite melacholic, i like the ambiguity of it. this book squeezes and fills my heart, and i sincerely hope more of park's works will be translated in the future, bc i for one cant wait to read them.

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lilly_anne's review against another edition

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

3.25


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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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ioanna_orf's review

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reflective sad medium-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

3.5


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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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