One Hundred Shadows

A shape-shifting tale of two young people in the dark underside of contemporary South Korea, One Hundred Shadows is an oblique, hard-edged and offbeat novella set in a slum electronics market in central Seoul. Here, the awkward, tentative relationship between Eun-gyo and Mujae is made yet more uncertain by their economic circumstances, while their matter-of-fact discussion of a strange recent development – the shadows of the slum’s inhabitants have started to ‘rise’ – leaves the reader to make up their own mind as to the nature of this fantastical tale. Hwang’s spare prose is illuminated by arresting images, quirky dialogue and moments of great lyricism, crafting a deeply affecting novel of perfectly calibrated emotional restraint. 

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About the author

This is a debut novel from Hwang Jungeun, translated by Jung Yewon.

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Why We Like It

  • One Hundred Shadows is of free-wheeling prose and full of fantasy
  • Handpicked by the exceptional Han Kang as South Korea's rising literary star
  • Beautifully translated by Jung Yewon

    “The tone of Hwang Jungeun's prose shifts like a living being, from intimate to aloof, translated with shimmering lucidity by Jung Yewon.” — Helen Oyeyemi

    “The technical skill and emotional authenticity are phenomenal. Hwang's strange, spare prose is deceptively powerful, haunting the reader and compelling them to care.”  Kirstin Zhang

Born in 1976, Hwang Jungeun is a rising star of Korean literature and has published two collections of short stories and three novels to date. One Hundred Shadows (2010), her debut novel, was a critical and commercial success; its mix of oblique fantasy, hard-edge social critique, and offbeat romance garnered the prestigious Hankook Ilbo Literary Award and the Korean Booksellers’ Award.

Jung Yewon is the translator of No One Writes Back by Jang Eun-jin and one of the co-translators of A Most Ambiguous Sunday and Other Stories by Jung Young Moon, both published by Dalkey Archive as part of their Library of Korean Literature series. Her translation of Jung Young Moon’s Vaseline Buddha is published by Deep Vellum.

Tilted Axis is a brilliant new not-for-profit press on a mission to shake up contemporary international literature. They have said of the partnership: 'We're enormously excited to be serialising One Hundred Shadows on The Pigeonhole. Partnering with fearless digital innovation like theirs is an essential part of our efforts to bring brilliant work like Hwang's to new readers. We can't wait to get started on 5th September!'


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