Translated from the Korean by Chun Kyung-ja
International superstar and beloved house author Hwang Sok-yong returns to the SSP list with themes that pierce our shared US-Korean history. A novel based on the author's experience in Korea's military corps fighting America's war in Vietnam, it reveals the regional economic motivations for the conflict within the larger Cold War.
A young corporal serving in the Korean Armed Forces during the Vietnam War is transferred to the Allied Forces' Criminal Investigation Division in Da Nang. His assignment is to keep an eye on the black market that is flourishing in the country, feeding on the US dollars pouring into an imperialist war.
In the thick web of black market dealings, ideals and ambitions cross and collide. Two brothers find themselves on opposing sides of the war. A Korean beauty hopes to buy herself a new life. And the young corporal struggles to remain indifferent, to be able to forget all that he has seen and done when he returns home. Trafficking, blackmail, profiteering, and hoarding are set alongside the atrocities and brutalities of a hellish war, making The Shadow of Arms different from other Vietnam War novels, his voice the wry and compassionate one of a universal noncombatant.
"Hwang Sok-yong is undoubtedly the most powerful 'voice of the novel' in East Asia today."--Kenzaburō Ōe
PRAISE FOR Old Garden:
"Hwang Sok-yong, one of South Korea's most important modern writers, poignantly shows us that history is also a story of how indiviudals live, love, and sacrifice in the tumult of time."--Krys Lee, author of Drifting House
PRAISE FOR The Guest:
"A provocative novel...with subtle power."--Austin Ramzy, Time
"Deeply rewarding"--Kirkus Reviews
"An unflinching, ambitious novel."--San Francisco Chronicle