> Book Review - Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop, by Hwang Bo-reum, Translated by Shanna Tan - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

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Book Review – Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop, by Hwang Bo-reum, Translated by Shanna Tan

Making Room For That Dream

For a book to simply sink right into during the darker months, you’ll struggle to find any more uplifting than Hwang Bo-reum’s Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop, a novel that feels like a space where many of society’s expectations are questioned, conventional pressures are alleviated, and there is a considered exploration of life.

Yeongju burns out from an ambitious career, leading to a downward spiral in her relationship to her demanding husband, and lets a nagging dream propel her to open the Hyunam-dong Bookshop. She moves to a residential neighbourhood, out of the stress of the city, and contemplates how she is going to exist within the boundaries of her new life. How does she make a success of this dream and discover what makes a successful bookshop?

Contemplative and exploratory, it often feels as though you are sitting with Yeongju in real time as she ruminates on what it is that makes a good bookseller. With Yeongju surrounded by friends, writers, coffee, and novels, there is something about this story that creates a warm and safe space for contemplation, making room for that dream or for simply immersing yourself in the snug bookshop that lures in customers with its top notch  barista. And the fact that it does all of this so seamlessly speaks volumes for the translator, Shanna Tan.

Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop is out now, published by Bloomsbury

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