23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Kim Hye-jin

Kim Hye-jin was born in Daegu, South Korea, in 1983. She made her debut in 2014 with the novel »Jungangyeok« [tr: Central Station], which tells a love story between two people on the fringes of society. Three more novels have appeared since her first publication; »Ttare daehayeo« [2017; Eng. »Concerning My Daughter«, 2022] is the first to appear in both English and German translation. The narrator, a geriatric nurse, widow, and mother of an adult daughter named Green, has placed a lot of emphasis on tradition and conformity throughout her life. Accordingly, she also wants Green to have a steady income and a partner with whom she can start a family. But Green lives with a woman. The mother finds this hard to accept. Green’s life path and her definition of family are alien to her. The mother also has little understanding for Green’s outrage at the unjustified dismissal of a homosexual colleague at the university. When Green and her partner are forced to move in with Green’s mother for financial reasons, a confrontation becomes inevitable. Meanwhile, at her own job in a retirement home, the narrator is asked to lower the standard of care for an elderly dementia patient who has no family of her own. She can’t accept that either. Her patient once traveled the world as a successful diplomat and decided against having children. Why should the fact that one has not led a traditional life mean that one is worth less as a person? This question triggers a slow transformation. With its sober narrative style, the novel succeeds in exposing homophobia and sexism in Korean society, especially through the narrow-minded view of the mother. At the same time, it addresses universal fears of aging, death, and isolation, ultimately culminating in a hopeful conclusion. The »FAZ« concluded that »›Concerning My Daughter‹ is a clever novel about the clash of worldviews, concepts of being, and traditions of different generations in modern-day South Korea.«

Kim Hye-jin has already received many awards for her writing in her home country, including the prestigious Daesan Literature Prize in 2020. The author lives in Seoul.

Date: 2022