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We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.

We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.

A story of desire and violence about a young woman who everyone forgot, VIOLETS is a captivating and sensual read, full of tragedy but also beauty in its lush, vibrant prose.

“[VIOLETS] binds a spell around the reader until the very end” Park Wanseo

“I always find myself acting out the main character in my mind when I read Kyung-Sook Shin’s novels. Reading VIOLETS is like she’s writing a script written perfectly for me” Doona Bae, actor (Netflix’s SENSE8, CLOUD ATLAS)

“The story of thwarted desires and the isolated individuals that harbor them… clean prose filled with Shin’s trademark rich descriptions” Korea Economic Daily

Reviews

Mesmerising, dreamlike and prescient in its sharpness and attentiveness to the dynamics between women and the male and female gaze. VIOLETS feels utterly contemporary and recalls the work of Mariana Enriquez and Dorthe Nors
Sharlene Teo
Shin Kyung Sook tells us a story which takes place both in a foreign land and in a very familiar space in our hearts. Human beings' everlasting agony of "longing to belong" presents itself in every page of this book with intensity and with beauty. A subtle, deep, unique work of true literature
Defne Suman, author of The Silence of Scheherazade