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DD's Umbrella

by Hwang Jung-eun

Translated from Korean by E Yaewon.

Published February, 2024

Paperback, 256 pages

Price: £13.99

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Synopsis
Why we love it

The book contains two novellas, which have such distinct voices you could be forgiven for thinking they were by different authors.

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 next book. The narrator reflects on family, ambition, inspiration, and what it means to be an adult.

What was it they were battling? Their smallness, of course, their smallness.

A delicate and arresting queer novel from one of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary writers.

d, a nonbinary gig worker living in Seoul,...

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What was it they were battling? Their smallness, of course, their smallness.

A delicate and arresting queer novel from one of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary writers.

d, a nonbinary gig worker living in Seoul, briefly escapes the grasp of isolation when they meet dd, only to be ensnared by grief when dd dies in a car accident. Meanwhile, the world around them reckons with the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster that left more than 300 dead. 

As formally inventive as it is evocative, dd’s Umbrella is composed of twin novellas. The first is told from the perspective of d, and the second from the perspective of a writer researching a book they may never write. Both figures dwell in society’s margins—queer, working-class, and part of nontraditional family structures.

As people across Korea come together to protest the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry disaster, and to impeach the right-wing president in office, the novel examines how progressive movements coexist with social exclusion, particularly of women and sexual minorities, invisibilised in service of the ‘greater cause’. 

dd’s Umbrella is a meditative and off-centre novel about mourning and revolution.

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  • Born in 1976, Hwang Jungeun is one of the bright young things of Korean literature, having published three collections of short stories and four novels to date. One Hundred Shadows (2010), her first novel, was both a critical and commercial success; its mix of oblique fantasy, hard-edge social critique, and offbeat romance garnered the Hankook Ilbo Literary Award and the Korean Booksellers’ Award. Her next novel I’ll Go On, translated by e. yaewon was published in 2018 and received the Daesan Literary Prize.

  • Founded in 2015, this awesome literary publisher mainly showcases the talents of Asian and African writers in translation. According to them, it's all about an ongoing exploration into alternatives. Plus, they've got some seriously snazzy covers, as...

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