A review by reverie_and_books
Love in the Big City, by Sang Young Park

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


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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