by Open Letter
Rina is a defector from a country that might be North Korea, traversing an “empty and futile” landscape. Along the way, she is forced to work at a chemical plant, murders a few people, becomes a prostitute, runs a lucrative bar, and finds a solace in a motley family of wanderers all as disenfranchised as she. Brutal and unflinching, with elements of the mythic and grotesque interspersed with hard-edged realism, Rina is a pioneering work of Korean postmodernism.
Translated from the Korean by Kim Boram & Janet Hong
About the Author:
Kang Young-sook was born in Chuncheon, Gangwondo, and graduated from the Seoul Institute of the Arts. She attended the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2009, and has served as an advisory member of the Korea Dialogue Academy since 1990.
About the Translators:
Kim Boram was born in Massachusetts. Her first translated work was Kim Yeon-su's short story “The Five Pleasures of Walking." She is currently working toward her PhD in English at UCLA.
Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the 2018 TA First Translation Prize and the 2018 LTI Korea Translation Award for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale. She’s a two-time winner of the Harvey Award for Best International Book for her translations of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s Grass and Yeong-shin Ma’s Moms. Other recent translations include Ha Seong-nan’s Bluebeard’s First Wife (selected as Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2020) and Kwon Yeo-sun’s Lemon. She is currently the Korean prose mentor for ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program.
Praise for Kang Young-sook:
"The way in which the novel creates a family that accepts members from any nationality, sexual orientation, age, or gender has no precedent in Korean literature. Kang's unique style of writing is equally radical. Her imagery is bare yet powerful, almost discomfiting in its unfamiliarity, and certainly too innovative to categorize or name."—Kim Hyung-jung, Hankook Ilbo