“The first thing you should know is that, according to the author’s note, Kim wrote the first story by request to be read as part of a proposal (and it worked!).
If the romance isn’t quite your thing, though, don’t worry: this collection is rife with giant themes distilled into a fast-paced story of human connection. Metaphysics, space/time, myth, spirituality, dystopia, and the multitudes of pain grace each of the four stories, the first and last intensely human stories grounding the more philosophical ones at the collection’s center.
While both the first and last stories are written as letters between an engaged couple across centuries and space, their missed connections at the heart of their misfortunes, Kim explores the same scenery and societal collapse through very different experiences: he suffers in the absence of human connection; she suffers at the hands of humans themselves.
A hopeful heartbreaker of a book, this is one that will sit with you long after it ends.”
In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
“Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.” – Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite
Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.
In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as he considers the most basic of questions: who am I?