Mater 2-10 by  Hwang Sok-yong

Mater 2-10

Hwang Sok-yong

The chatty, descriptive style helps Westerners cope with the unusual combination of beneficent ghosts, railway engineering technicalities, the brutality of Japanese occupation and exploitation, and the strength of soul shown by the Korean workers’ resistance through the generations. All credit to the painstaking translators who set out their approach in the introductory note - and the author’s afterword evidences historical and moral authority.


In the past, workers had doused themselves with petrol and set themselves on fire, one after the other, as if the idea were contagious. Now what shattered workers wasn't rage but despair- a mighty, terrifying enemy that slowly gnawed away at them day after day. Another protest assembly would end, and the workers would be on their own. Even after returning to their waiting families, they were alone. The world has always been as indifferent as the universe. It is lonely, still and silent. Tedious, worthless everyday life crushed them all. Dismissal was murder.

Jino had visited Jingi's family ten days or so after his funeral. He'd talked things over with his old co-workers who'd worked in the union with him, and collected a small amount of condolence money. They'd agreed that Jino should be the one to make the visit, as he'd been the closest with Jingi. Jino's next trip from the chimney took him back to the day of this visit. Swaying like smoke, Jingi hovered around Jino, pacing him on the walk back.

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
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