Your March read is not one but two books: a pair of novellas that follow two protagonists. Usually, when I come across twin narratives, there’s always one I favour over and above the other. But with DD’s Umbrella, I found both stories equally compelling. 

DD's Umbrella by Hwang Jung-eun  tr. E Yaewon

The voices are singular, and although they follow the same themes, the approach and writing style of each is quite different, each main character embodying their own unique voice. 

The first story is centered around would-be life partners D and DD. Above all, we follow D as they grapple with the grief of unexpectedly losing a partner. 

The second story is from a writer researching their 13th book. The narrator reflects on family, ambition, inspiration, and what it means to be an adult. 

Both stories are set in South Korea during the aftermath of the 2014 Seowal Ferry disaster. A tragedy that struck the nation with grief, this event gave rise to pockets of social movements against government incompetence. 

In DD’s Umbrella, the protagonists' lives intersect with the protests, with the narrative exploring how those forced into the margins of a society intolerant to sexual minorities and non-traditional family structures fit into these movements.

Both stories contain gorgeous imagery that stopped me in my tracks, so I’d recommend reading this one with a pencil if you’re prone to underlining good sentences.