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In crisp, unembellished prose, Choi Eunyoung paints intimate portraits of the lives of young women in South Korea, balancing the personal with the political. In the title story, a fraught friendship between an exchange student and her host sister follows them from adolescence to adulthood. In ‘A Song from Afar’, a young woman grapples with the death of her lover, travelling to Russia to search for information about the deceased. In ‘Secret’, the parents of a teacher killed in the Sewol ferry sinking hide the news of her death from her grandmother.

In the tradition of Sally Rooney, Banana Yoshimoto, and Marilynne Robinson – writers from different cultures who all take an unvarnished look at human relationships and the female experience – Choi Eunyoung is a writer to watch.

Reviews

Gentle yet elucidating . . . Shoko's Smile is the most beautiful book I've come across this year
Sisain
Shoko's Smile is the outcome of Choi's quite triumphant attempt to invent her own way to talk about dark facets of our reality . . . And her way at first comes across as bright and lighthearted. Of course, misleadingly so . . . Choi invents the narratives of today's real people who have not surrendered or become oppressors themselves, and who have survived nonetheless
GQ