!!> PDF / Epub ☉ Pavane for a Dead Princess ✩ Author Min-gyu Park – Rvtrek.info

Pavane for a Dead Princess Full thoughts coming soon, but for now I ll just say I really liked the mood of this book and the subtle humor.Check out the full review over at The Collagist.If you liked this, make sure to follow me on Goodreads forreviews Nobody, in a slow and deliberate love story, can as savagely attack the narrowness and superficial nature of society as fashioned by capitalism as Park Min gyu If Is That So I m a Giraffe laid bare the era in which people were merely input cogs in a machine and treated that way Pavane does an evenflaying job on the skin deep nature of of a world in which money has been aestheticized and aesthetics, in the traditional sense, are judge only by monetary worth.Pavane is about a triad of Nobody, in a slow and deliberate love story, can as savagely attack the narrowness and superficial nature of society as fashioned by capitalism as Park Min gyu If Is That So I m a Giraffe laid bare the era in which people were merely input cogs in a machine and treated that way Pavane does an evenflaying job on the skin deep nature of of a world in which money has been aestheticized and aesthetics, in the traditional sense, are judge only by monetary worth.Pavane is about a triad of friends Yohan the man who can make seemingly anything into a metaphor or argument against the superficiality of the world The handsome young man, the son of an actor who left the family for success and the ugliest woman in the world The latter two fall in love, and the rest of the book is combination of their biographies after a horrible circumstance separates them, memories of the times the three friends spent together, and conversations that go to places you would never expect e.g how rectum folds would become incredibly important in a world in which everyone was attractive.As usual in Park s work, while all is gloom in the world as it exists, better possibilities are out there, and Park, in a kind of director s cut s of an ending shows how this might work.Park s style is deft, hard hitting, and brief, all of which makes reading Pavane quite easy despite its oftentimes grim subject matter.Pavane for a Dead Princess is in direct competition with No One Writes Back for the best book of the Dalkey Archive LTI Korea series, and it makes me extremely eager to see what excellent books await us next year Park Min Gyu Has Been Celebrated And Condemned For His Attacks Upon What He Perceives As The Humorlessness Of Contemporary Korean Literature Pavane For A Dead Princess Is His Attack Upon The Beauty Fetish That Reigns Over Popular Culture, Detailing The Relationship Between A Man With Matinee Idol Good Looks And The Ugliest Woman Of The Century To Complicate Matters Further, Park Also Includes A So Called Writer S Cut Of The Same Story, Offering Alternate Versions Of The Facts, Giving The Reader The Opportunity To Imagine All The Different Ways This Same Novel Might Have Been Written This is my first book of Korean literature I ve read thanks to the recommendation by a friend The basic story is set in the 1980s and revolves around a young man, his friend, and his girlfriend The three of them work together at a department store in Seoul All three are single and live alone, all three come from different parts of Korea.From here the author deftly weaves several stories The romance between the narrator and an ugly girl She knows she s ugly and she s shunned because she s ug This is my first book of Korean literature I ve read thanks to the recommendation by a friend The basic story is set in the 1980s and revolves around a young man, his friend, and his girlfriend The three of them work together at a department store in Seoul All three are single and live alone, all three come from different parts of Korea.From here the author deftly weaves several stories The romance between the narrator and an ugly girl She knows she s ugly and she s shunned because she s ugly and she has some of the most eloquent speeches explaining her life as an ugly woman It s touching and realistic You know what s the most pitiful thing in the world The obvious effort made by an ugly woman to look beautiful The world is merciless on the pitiful attempts made by ugly women Unlike the rest of the world s women, I can only show the side of me I want hidden Even if I wanted to turn around and show the world my brighter side the world tells me not to Even if I became a cultured, knowledgeable individual, I d still be an invisible moon Their romance makes up the bulk of the story with many quotes about love, the meaning of love, society s influence on love, the pitfalls of love.The narrator s friendship with Yohan who befriends him at the department store where they work is funny and a springboard for further critique of society This world is one big sham People would follow you to hell as long as you blindfold them or hoodwink them with pretty things to look at You think dictators are the ones who ruin the world No, the ones who ruin the world are the idiots who vote for the assholes who say their party can boost the local economy or raise real estate prices The ones who ruin the world are the idiots who don t care whether the people they vote for used to be serial killers or might end up dictators The world is ruined by people who want a better life Yohan s advice on what to do if there s a conflict with a costumer Now let s suppose there s been an accident This is what you have to do, so listen and learn First, take off your armband and cap Next, run back to the office without looking back If the supervisor s there, knock him out Open the second drawer of his desk and look for your employee record Either tear that into shreds and swallow it or burn it Then run straight home Then start looking for another job Is that clear Korea is at a crossroads in the 80s On the verge of change from years of dictatorship to a democracy The great thing about reading Korean literature is that they are not enad of Western ways They look at and acknowledge the ugly side of capitalism The world tries to hammer into our heads the fantasy that we can have anything we want That s how it gets the 99% to envy the 1% and work to get to the top The ugly side of consumerism and democracy No matter how much the rats compete, they ll always be rats Rats who believe they re practicing majority rule There have been negative critiques of the ending since it does try to have three endings in one Like a pick your own ending story, but I am very satisfied with the overall book and it s depth and scope This was a great introduction to Korean literature and glad it was recommended to me A love story For much of this book, I was a little frustrated by the slow pace too much preaching and philosophizing But the end was pretty great, with a series of surprises and twists I m glad I read it. All love is founded on myth, the myth that you love him, that s he somehow different from other guys, that she s this type of girl, that you mean everything to him, that you understand everything about him, that she s terribly beautiful, that he ll never change, that he needs you, that he s lonely, that you ll love her forever They re all mistaken beliefs.Yet those who find love in spite of the ugly truth are those who have decided to believe the good rather than the bad That was the kind ofAll love is founded on myth, the myth that you love him, that s he somehow different from other guys, that she s this type of girl, that you mean everything to him, that you understand everything about him, that she s terribly beautiful, that he ll never change, that he needs you, that he s lonely, that you ll love her forever They re all mistaken beliefs.Yet those who find love in spite of the ugly truth are those who have decided to believe the good rather than the bad That was the kind of love we hadwas published by in 2009 and translated into English by Amber Hyun Jung Kim as part of the wonderful Dalkey Archive Library of Korean Literature.It didn t quite work for me perhaps because at a personal level I buy in to the South Korean modern culture that it so bluntly critiques, and neither am I a fan of adolescent love stories but I can appreciate why it has attracted 5 reviews from other reviewers who I respect.The story begins with a tearful reunion between the unnamed narrator and his also unnamed girlfriend, on his 20th birthday in 1986 The novel takes it s title from Ravel s Pavane pour une infante d funte , which the girl offers to the narrator as a gift, although even before that he intuits that, when they embrace, her body felt like a lifeless princess.The meeting was both their first for many months, and their last The bulk of the rest of the novel circles back to explain how they had come to this point, while a brief coda at the end explains why it was their last meeting with a surprising, and for me overly melodramatic, plot twist and then also offers an alternative s authors cut again, to me overly sentimental.As suggested above the novel functions both as an adolscent first love story and a polemic against mid 1980s Korean culture The following lengthy but abridged excerpt comes early on as scene settingIn 1985, Madonna s face was everywhere There were poster of her face staring straight ahead, her face in profile, her head tilted back, her eyes half closed, maybe with one finger coquettishly in her mouth Of course this pattern repeated itself every year, with a different girl Someone unspeakably beautiful an angel, really would come from nowhere and her very presence captured everyone s hearts Even when the oil shock gripped the world in 1979 or when the two world wars erupted or when the Great Depression hit, even in nineteenth century England and fifteen century China, even in ancient Rome and Greece, the same must have occurred.1985 was also full of ugly women Humans have always needed an ugliness they could look upon with complete contempt, and 1985 was no exception.It was also a year average people suddenly came into money It was the age of real estate, the stock market, and the huge bubble expanding over the economy Suddenly, there were people scrambling around unsure what to do with their newfound wealth, people who were intensely jealous but didn t want to admit it, people who suddenly felt foolish about working for their money, people who only then realised being poor was a crime, people who waited in line all night with their bank accounts for housing applications to get a piece of the real estate pie, people who understood they were treated differently depending on the size of their carpeople who woke up to the realisation that labels and brand names represented who they were, people who scrawled a Nike swoosh on their sneakers and envied those with the authentic NikesMany people were forced into oblivion in the face of that new world, which feels to be like it was yesterday I m talking about shopkeeprs who were constantly fingering the beads on their abacus, kids who drank milk out of glass bottles with a paper cork, poor middle aged women who looked effectively genderless, older men who biked up narrow winding slopes of their neighbourhood, families living in tiny rented rooms who were knocked unconscious by coal gas poisoning Park s focus is the middle 95%, who are neither beautiful nor rich, but not the ugly or poor either, and how they get sucked into a culture that strives to achieve both wealth and physical perfection South Korea is famed for the high level of plastic surgery , yet ultimately chasing a moving and unattainable target, and largely to the benefit of the top 1% Rather oddly he has chosen to make the female character part of the bottom few % the narrator s first impression on his to be girlfriend is that she is extraordinarily ugly.In betweeen anti consumerist polemics, the love story of the novel comprises rather banal and overwrought conversation, interspersed with occassional poetic asides Ears are organs shaped with dizzying curves, sculptures formed by someone s whispered breath To be fair to Park, it does capture well the adolescent voice, but it doesn t make for great literature another Korean novel I read this year had a similar issue.And at times the novel seems a bit too Murakamiesque particularly Norwegian Wood , featuring a loner male narrator, with a cat, a prediliction for Beatles records and a penchant for spending time in a bar.There are some odd stylistic quirks some of the direct speech but not all in a fainter font, and odd paragraph spacing seemingly purely for effect, and Park and I m sure it is him, not the translator has also included a number of gratuituous footnotes for example when in their reunion at a restaurant the girl says It feels like we re in Kentucky Chicken , a footnote explains Name of the bar the two frequented , something that is pretty obvious from context and from reading on This puzzled me throughout the book and the explanation appears to be that it s a rather clumsy hint of a meta narrative by someone other than the ostensible narrator, foreshadowing the author s cut.The translation certainly reads well, although Amber Hyun Jung Kim obviously struggled with one Korean joke when the narrator names his cat Saint Expury, after the author of Little Prince, because it sounds like mouse one needs to know this in Korean in saeng jui one place a footnote might have been useful.All the above being said, it is a compelling read, genuinely moving the love story and hard hitting on consumerist culture, in Korea and the 1980s particularly at the same time , ,., ,. , , Essentially a touching love story between a handsome young man and an ugly woman, this gentle and warm Korean novel is also an exploration of how an emphasis on outward beauty can be so destructive, and how dysfunctional a society is when all that matters is consumerism Not original ideas, admittedly, but here dealt with in an unusual way by concentrating on how such values affect one couple in particular Set mainly in 1985 South Korea at a time of massive transformation and increasing wealth, Essentially a touching love story between a handsome young man and an ugly woman, this gentle and warm Korean novel is also an exploration of how an emphasis on outward beauty can be so destructive, and how dysfunctional a society is when all that matters is consumerism Not original ideas, admittedly, but here dealt with in an unusual way by concentrating on how such values affect one couple in particular Set mainly in 1985 South Korea at a time of massive transformation and increasing wealth, the book is a commentary on the era and expos of its shallowness But above all it s a love story, a romance between two young people who feel excluded from the materialist society around them Well crafted and well paced, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it will long resonate with me Meet five of the brightest young imaginative voices in Korean fiction this December in central Seoul These five exceptional Korean writers will read their work and be interviewed in English Korean at Seoul Global Cultural Centre in Myeong dong You will also be able to ask them questions in the Q and A session, buy new bilingual editions of some of their most celebrated stories and get them signed The event will be moderated by Seoul Honorary Citizen Professor Charles Montgomery and i Meet five of the brightest young imaginative voices in Korean fiction this December in central Seoul These five exceptional Korean writers will read their work and be interviewed in English Korean at Seoul Global Cultural Centre in Myeong dong You will also be able to ask them questions in the Q and A session, buy new bilingual editions of some of their most celebrated stories and get them signed The event will be moderated by Seoul Honorary Citizen Professor Charles Montgomery and is co organised with ASIA Publishers publishers of some of the most exciting Korean literature in print www.facebook.com events 333997590118198 12 ,,www.facebook.com events 333997590118198 Park Min gyu s Pavane for a Dead Princess has a writer looking back to the mid eighties, a time when he arrived at the threshold of adulthood The opening scene is of a bus arriving in the snow, bringing the writer and the reader to a final, heart warming meeting between two young lovers.Moving back a year, we learn how the two met while working in the underground car park of a busy Seoul department store Both of them are eye catching, but in very different ways The narrator is a young man Park Min gyu s Pavane for a Dead Princess has a writer looking back to the mid eighties, a time when he arrived at the threshold of adulthood The opening scene is of a bus arriving in the snow, bringing the writer and the reader to a final, heart warming meeting between two young lovers.Moving back a year, we learn how the two met while working in the underground car park of a busy Seoul department store Both of them are eye catching, but in very different ways The narrator is a young man who stands out, having inherited his father s movie star looks The girl She, as is made very clear, is totally, breath takingly ugly Pavane for a Dead Princess is an easy, comforting read, a story chronicling the development of a relationship against a back drop of near hedonistic consumerism The two main characters, young people at odds with society, have arrived in the adult world without the appropriate social tools to survive and ignore outside pressure It s hard to follow your own path when countless millions seem to be telling you that there s only one way to go and it s not yours.This is particularly true of mid 80s Seoul, a city seemingly attempting to fit decades of consumer development into a few months this is truly the age of the commercial and the superficial The world had laid down its judgement long ago It was an age where pretty trumped justice and pretty had the last word Nearly everything was determined at first sight, in terms of what school you went to, how much money you had, and how you stacked up in the eyes of others Glancing at the calendar on the wall, with its picture of a provocatively posing model practically demanding our attention, I poured my friend another glass p.48 Dalkey Archive Press, 2014 Having worked hard, the Korean middle classes want to enjoy their gains, and shopping has become a national past time In truth, though, they have been swept up in a race to buy , spendand become better , getting into debt in order to have the latest fashions It s all seemslike hard work than real leisure.The narrator, his girl friend and their friend Yohan stick out in this sea of consumerism, all misfits in their own way The narrator is a budding writer, a school drop out recovering from the break up of his parents marriage his actor father dumped the narrator s plain mother once he hit the big time Yohan is the foil to the introverted narrator he s clever and witty, and he helps his friend to cope with the daily grind However, underneath his affable exterior, there s a palpable sense of darkness waiting to emerge.The boys issues, however, are nothing when compared to the girl s problems Her appearance prevents her from living a normal life and the writer makes sure that we understand how big a problem this is Whenever she walks down the street, people gape at her, unable to quite believe what they re seeing, and most turn away rather than keep looking at her Her looks prevent her from getting, and keeping, decent jobs understandably, she sees her appearance as an affliction Some people might point to handicapped people and tell me things can be much worse I m aware there are many people who are in pain But, although I know this will sound shameless and selfish, there were many times when I envied those people At least the world recognizes their handicaps for handicaps The world never accepted my darkness as a handicap, yet everyone treated me as such My handicap was never recognized as one, although, while I don t want to admit it, it was the world that had crippled me I had to go to the same school and wear the same clothes as other kids, but I was always treated differently I had no choice but to live this life That was my fate Ugly p.179 The writer later contrasts her situation with fleeting portraits of pretty girls Unlike the narrator s girlfriend, theirs is an easy life, life pandered to by a safety net of admirers Coincidentally, I was reading this book when the Ren e Zellweger controversy erupted a sobering reminder that it s not just 80s Korea that had a fixation on beauty Pavane for a Dead Princess is a touching love story with a twist and a scathing indictment of modern society It s a compelling tale, and if the themes and style sound familiar, they cetainly are You see, there sthan a touch of the Murakamis about this one with the Japanese writer being a very obvious influence on Park In fact, some of the writing is very reminiscent of Haruki s idiosyncratic style I m sorry, she whispered Her voice was tiny, but it unsettled me Why was she sorry She began to cry to my utter confusion The thought crossed my mind that maybe twenty year old guys are like AM radios We can turn the knob all we want, but we ll never receive that elusive signal called woman I sat there blank as a dead radio, facing her tears I felt I d done something very wrong p.8 That s a passage which could have come straight out of A Wild Sheep Chase or Dance, Dance, Dance The scenes of the three friends at the run down bar, Kentucky Chicken , will instantly have Murakami fans thinking of the many nights Boku and the Rat spend at J s Bar, and there are constant mentions of pop music and reading books in public places Yes, if you wait long enough, there s also a cat Even the title is unmistakably Murakamiesque It refers to a piece of classical music, Ravel s Pavane pour une infante d funte , music from an LP given to the narrator by his girlfriend on their last night together a melancholic piano piece If only Park had Murakami s sales, I m sure it would soon be as frequently searched for on Youtube as the Liszt pieces from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki or The Wind Up Bird Chronicle s The Thieving Magpie Park is a lotthan just a Murakami clone, though Pavane for a Dead Princess is a straight forward, but fascinating story, a book I flew through I ve had some issues with the translations in this series, but this one was generally good, and I found it easy to remain absorbed in the story, eager to keep turning the pages I d probably still recommend Jang Eun jin s No One Writes Back as the standout of the ones I ve read, but this one is definitely up there with the best N.B I received a review copy of this book from the publisher this review is a slightly amended version of the one on my blog Tony s 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About the Author: Min-gyu Park

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