The Dwarf
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232pp. September 2006
The Dwarf
Author: Se-hui, Cho; Translator: Fulton, Bruce and Ju-Chan;
The dark side of South Korea’s "economic miracle" emerges in The Dwarf, Cho Se-hui’s enormously popular and critically acclaimed work. First published in 1978, it speaks to the painful social costs of reckless industrialization, even as it tellingly portrays the spiritual malaise of the newly rich and powerful and a working class subject to forces beyond its control. Cho’s lean, clipped, deceptively simple style, the rapidly shifting points of view, terse dialogue, and subtle irony evoke the particularities of life in 1970s South Korea in the presence of global economic forces.

The desperate realities of life for the dwarf, the proverbial little guy upon whose back Korea’s economic transformation largely took place, are emotively rendered in twelve linked stories examining the lives of a laboring family, a family of the newly emerging middle class, and that of a wealthy industrialist. The stories have overlapping characters and situations: the murder of a swindler, a family’s eviction from a squatter settlement, the assassination of an important executive, the dwarf ’s fantasy of a planet where life is easier, his later suicide and the subsequent fate of his dispersed friends and family members.


Modern Korean Fiction Series
“In Korean, this collection was a phenomenal bestseller, selling almost one million copies. Now, finally, it is available in a well-produced and smooth English translation. . . . Compulsory reading for all global citizens.” —Pacific Affairs (80:2, Summer 2007)

"A valuable addition to the small but steadily growing body of Korean literature translated into English. It is a novel with relevance for most readers as the social and political issues it addresses are universal. . . . In one way the work is a masterpiece of miniaturization and in another it is a sprawling epic. In either case, it deserves a very wide audience." —Acta Koreana (11:1, 2008)

"I enthusiastically recommend the Korean novel The Dwarf. A modern classic set in the industrial Korea of the 1970s, The Dwarf is an imaginative cross between stark socio-political fiction and magical realism, used to deeply moving effect. It has taken many years for the English translation to find a publisher and I hope it will be picked up by many readers, who will, I’m sure, treasure their encounter with the dwarf’s family." —Hayun Jung, Words without Borders

Author: Se-hui, Cho; Translator: Fulton, Bruce and Ju-Chan;
Read an excerpt (PDF).
The Möbius Strip

Knifeblade

Space Travel

A Little Ball Launched by a Dwarf

On the Footbridge

Orbital Rotation

City of Machines

The Cost of Living for a Family of Ungang Laborers

The Fault Lies with God as Well

The Klein Bottle

The Spinyfish Entering My Net

Epilogue

Afterword: Cho Se-hui and The Dwarf




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