An enigmatic, poetic, ultimately tragic tale of love, literature and loss set during a period of time in Korea with which I was not familiar before I read this book. In the 1980s, South Korea was socially and politically unstable after the ending of an authoritarian regime. University students protested seriously and often. This is our setting.
Students Yoon, Dahn, Myungsuh, and Miru form a strong bond. We watch how this relationship grows, and then witness how it changes, and ends. Stories are told in alternating chapters, with a journal speaking one of the voices. I wonder what this book would read like if I could read it in the original Korean. The tone reminds me a lot of Murakami's novels: very interior, noticing details, sensitive.
While there is a mystery that pulls you along, for me, the strength of the book is its descriptions of meaningful relationships between people: how they start, grow and end. If you like books about relationships and have an interest in Asian literature or Korea, this book is for you.