Our International Book of the Month is Mater 2-10 Hwang Sok-yong and translated by Sora Kim-Russell (Translator) and Youngjae Josephine Bae.

The book has been short-listed for the 2024 Booker Prize. In contemporary Seoul, a laid-off worker stages a months-long sit-in atop a sixteen-story factory chimney. During the long and lonely nights, he talks to his ancestors, chewing on the meaning of life, on wisdom passed down the generations.

Through the lives of those ancestors, three generations of railroad workers, Mater 2-10 vividly portrays the struggles of ordinary Koreans, starting from the Japanese colonial era, continuing through Liberation, and right up to the twenty-first century. It is at once a gripping account of a nation’s longing to be free from oppression, a lyrical folktale that reflects the blood, sweat, and tears shed by modern industrial laborers, and a culmination of Hwang’s career―a masterpiece thirty years in the making.—Amazon

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