The Guest
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The Guest

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Based on actual events, The Guest is a profound portrait of a divided people haunted by a painful past, and a generation's search for reconciliation.
During the Korean War, Hwanghae Province in North Korea was the setting of a gruesome fifty-two day massacre. In an act of collective amnesia the atrocities were attributed to American military, but in truth they resulted from...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Seven Stories Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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Fiona
In Korea, the term ‘the guest’ refers to Smallpox, a western disease that wiped out many hundreds of people across the nation. The local shaman would preform a ritual to exorcise ‘the guest’ by going through twelve rounds that cross between the boundaries of the dead and the living.

The Guest in this novel is not smallpox, but two other foreign intruders – Christianity and Marxism. According to Hwang Sok-Yong, the people in North Korea typically blame the Americans for the horrific atrocities tha...more
Psychopu
The Guest isn't an easy book, especially for those who are not very familiar with recent and past Korean history. Even to those who are familiar with it, it will be a challenging read, as it contains an uncommon overview on the history of Korea. The novel is divided into twelve chapters, that correspond to ritual steps of an exorcism, the stages of a trip towards purification that both the living and the dead exposed to the same historical events are bound to complete in order to free themselves...more
Sarah
The Guest is a ghost story in the same way that Beloved is: an embodied past appears to challenge those in the present. In the wake of his brother's unexpected death, the aging Rev. Ryu Yosop takes the journey his brother had previously planned: he travels from the U.S. to his birthplace in North Korea. The ghost of his brother accompanies him; long-dead former friends and neighbors come and go.

Hwang presents a striking portrait of contemporary North Korea (about which he knows more than most o...more
Barry Welsh
Please join the 10 Magazine Book Club for our September meeting on Saturday 27th September. We will be joined by very special guest novelist Hwang Sok-yong, legendary author of several award winning & bestselling books including 'The Shadow of Arms', 'The Old Garden', 'The Guest' & 'The Road to Sampo.' www.facebook.com/events/295035237335833/

텐매거진 북클럽의 9월 모임에 초대합니다. 날짜는 9월 27일 토요일입니다. 이번 모임은 '무기의 그늘', '오래된 정원', '손님', '삼포 가는 길' 등의 베스트셀러 작품들로 다양한 문학상을 수상하신 전설적인 소설가 황석영 작가님과 함께합니다. www.faceb...more
Psychopu
The Guest isn't an easy book, especially for those who are not very familiar with recent Korean history. Even to those who are familiar with it, it will be a challenging read, as it contains an uncommon overview on the history of Korea. The novel is divided into twelve chapters, that correspond to ritual steps of an exorcism, the stages of a trip towards purification that both the living and the dead exposed to the same historical events are bound to complete in order to free themselves from the...more
Hala Alzghoul
A wonderful way to portrait history and politics in an amazing well-written novel. Even though in some of the pages I had to go back and read it all over again to make sure I’m still on the right track with the characters and sequence of the story .in the end of all the chapters and pages it turns out that there weren’t any good and bad side just a big misunderstanding. In addition, in the end of it all everyone came out with his or her own ideology. The books entire philosophy can be explained...more
Anastasia
This book is very detailed and it takes a while to engage,
especially if you don't have some background on what happened
in North Korea during the war. It also blends reality with fantasy
in a fluid and sometimes ambiguous way. It's a very powerful story
that shows how people in the same community can be driven to tear
each other apart based solely on ideology. Highly recommended,
but not a quick, easy read by any means.
Christine
I actually put this book down and didn't finish it. I rarely do that, but I just couldn't get into it. The only interesting parts to me were the main character's observations of the tone of the current North Korean regime. The rest of the book was boooooring.
Kayla
Such a moving story of the pain caused in a war by both sides, and how it escalates beyond sides into senseless killing to try and release the built-up anger.
Catarina
Definitely a difficult book to read because of the subject matter, but provides insight into the Korean War that many of us don't know about.
Bernard
Interesting but too slow to my taste
Tim
For the Chronicle.
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He was born in Hsinking (today Changchun), Manchukuo, during the period of Japanese rule. His family returned to Korea after liberation in 1945. He later obtained a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Dongguk University(동국대학교).
In 1964 he was jailed for political reasons and met labor activists. Upon his release he worked at a cigarette factory and at several construction sites around the country....more
More about Hwang Sŏk-yŏng...
The Old Garden Shim Chong, Fille Vendue Die Geschichte des Herrn Han Chwasty The Shadow of Arms

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“There is an old saying that goes 'Start by plucking a hair, end by killing a man'. It is also said, 'Two hands must meet to make a sound'. The atrocities that happened here weren't carried out by strangers - it was us, the people who'd once lived together harmoniously in the same village."
"They say it was the superstitious freaks who did it."
"No, it was Satan who did it."
"Come now, what sort of a ghost is that?"
Ryu Yosop replied, "It is the black thing that lives in the heart of every man.”
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“The blazing sun beat down on the concrete of the museum's front yard- Reverend Ryu Yosop felt as if the heat were sucking up all the moisture in his brain and heart. What different colors he and his brother Yohan must have used as each of them painted their own picture of home, of the carnage. These people have constructed yet a different vision of their own, Yosop thought to himself, but it all stems from the same nightmare, the one we created together.” 0 likes
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