Reviews tagging Abandonment

Love in the Big City, by Sang Young Park

1 review

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


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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