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One Hundred Shadows

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  578 ratings  ·  99 reviews
An oblique, hard-edged novel tinged with offbeat fantasy, One Hundred Shadows is set in a slum electronics market in central Seoul – an area earmarked for demolition in a city better known for its shiny skyscrapers and slick pop videos. Here, the awkward, tentative relationship between Eungyo and Mujae, who both dropped out of formal education to work as repair-shop assist ...more
Paperback, 147 pages
Published October 3rd 2016 by Tilted Axis Press (first published June 25th 2010)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  578 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
My first foray into Korean literature, and a very positive one from tilted axis press (look them up). It is set in Seoul in a rundown electronics market which is scheduled for demolition. The book revolves around Eungyo and Mujae; who have both dropped out of school and are working as repair shop assistants. They develop a friendship which the novel follows. This is a novel about the underside of modern life and about the urban poor. The prose is spare and lyrical, but doesn’t fall into
Paul Fulcher
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Money is a powerful thing, Mr Yeo said that the government had made a show of digging up the first shovelful themselves, then quietly handed over the shovel: that was how they'd always been, and that nothing ever changes. Then he swore a couple of times, Lately he said, the shadows have been starting to dominate.

Some days when he came to work it was his shadow that went in front of him."

백의 그림자 by 황정은 (Hwang Jung-eun) has been translated into English as One Hundred Shadows by Jung Yewon.

This is
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
"I thought to myself that even if my shadow had drawn me deep into the woods, so deep that I never returned, someone would still have stuck flyers on the door, and pizzas would still have been sold."

The Fantasy elements in this novella are surreal and open to interpretation. I enjoyed it, for an urban fantasy novel, it's very grounded in reality.
This is a story set in Seoul and follows two young people called Eungyo and Mujae. Both of them work in an electronics market that is compared to a slu
Ashley Owens
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Great writing style and and very odd & unique story... but I have no idea wtf I just read. ...more
Katie Lumsden
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable and interesting read - I loved the writing and the subtle magic realism, and the relationship between the two central character is very well done.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mothbox
This book was one of the ones sent out to me in the march Mothbox which is run by Mercedes. I was certainly drawn to the book becuase of the superb cover and peculiar-sounding tale within, and I quickly decided to read it as a good little break between the mammoth books I am currently reading for #TomeTopple.

This is a story set in South Korea which follows two young people: Eungyo and Mujae. Both of them work in a run down, sprawling and chaotic market which runs the risk of being shut down, but
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This reminds me of Murakami in that the minutiae of life is exposed to tell a story. There are some cool fantastical elements happening. I liked it.
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
The dark, macabre fairy tale atmosphere which Jungeun creates is often interspersed with an almost bland sense of reality, thereby creating an atmosphere which is both surreal and at the same time strangely relatable; whilst there is no escaping the fact that the novel is set in the real world, the dreamlike prose style and the constant references to the supernatural, including the unexplained and sentient shadows which appear to haunt human beings, is constantly unsettling for the reader.

The no
Gumble's Yard
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This book is published by a small UK publisher Tilted Axis who publish “books that might not otherwise make it into English, for the very reasons that make them exciting to us – artistic originality, radical vision, the sense that here is something new.” Their name refers to their aim to tilt “the axis of world literature from the centre to the margins ...… where multiple traditions spark new forms and translation plays a crucial role.

It was founded by Deborah Smith, the English-Korean translato
Alice Lippart
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Strange, atmospheric and slightly sad. Really enjoyed the themes and the magical realism.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
BookTube-A-Thon Book 1: Read a book in a day.

Review to follow.
3.5 stars.

An odd and lovely little book. Its straightforward narrative style contrasts well with subtle uses of fantasy and a fresh and delicate presentation of new love. I would like to read more by this author.
Cat (cat-thecatlady)
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
a really beautiful little book about the struggles of modern urban life, with just the right amount of magical realism. the simple writing and plot make the characters and world truly shine. really enjoyed this.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-work
The opening comparison of this work to a sunshower (“fox rain” is the phrase in Korean) captures One Hundred Shadows perfectly, it’s a book about finding the good in the bad. It’s the joy you can find in driving a beat up used car that you got on the cheap because it’s on its last legs. It’s living in poverty but liking your life, and the people you live it with. A neighborhood that outsiders call a slum, to you can be home, and a home you don’t want to change.

Not that Hwang Jungeun depicts livi
Ethereal, dream-like, accepting of their fate. South Korean working class literature.

Two young people work in an electronics market and slowly develop a friendship.

We meet Eungyo as she is following her shadow, causing her to become separated from the group she is with. Mujae follows her and stops her. Shadows rise and seem to lure one to follow it, something that others try to prevent, for it feels death-like.

Although it is never explained the constant mention of human shadows and their variou
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Okay, Hwang Jungeun is an author I'm going to be on the lookout for because, wow, this was something special.

One Hundred Shadows deals in large part with people on the fringes of a consumerist society. It is also about two people in a fledgling relationship, both of whom are barely managing to scrape by in their own inner worlds.

So, meaty subject matter. But still, it is a short read. And the author uses this very limited space to create something deceptively complex, something original. It isn'
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jung Yewon's translation of Hwang Jungeun's One Hundred Shadows is as ethereal and flowing as the plot. The spooky fairytale-like notion that your shadow can rise up and lead you to your demise is woven through the reality of a young woman working in a soon to be demolished electronics market.
This novel is a quick read, but sometimes gets muddled due to the diliberate lack of punctuation relating to the dialogue. However this is probably an intended effect and it would do me good to read the boo
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: witmonth2016
A couple developtheir relationship against a backdrop of a world where shadows are not doing as expected. Nothing is quite clear or explained as the characters navigate a shifting environment. Above all, the style of writing contributes to this otherness, a very light touch and perfectly captures real but confusing short conversations. Reminiscent of Murakami Huruki at his best, but pared back to essentilas and poetic. A read that will subtley echo and haunt you afterwards. (
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
This was my first excourse into Korean fiction, which has it's own writing style (similar to the Japanese one).

The story of One Hundred Shadows follows Eungyo. It never was mentioned how old she is, but my guess would be that she is in her 30s. This is a guess only though! In the beginning of the book we widnes how her friend Mujae finds her in the woods after she followed her shadow without noticing it. What follows is a short, but interesting story about different meeting of people with their
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
All the tenderness, innocence, and detail of a Miyazaki film. Also similarly light and simple, which is less effective in a book than a film. The result is almost towards The YA genre but with plenty of reality to keep it from being shallow.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south-korea
I suppose the Murakami comparisons will be inevitable, but I liked the spare, sometimes aloof, mediations on topics from gentrification to loneliness much better than anything I've read of him.
So torn on this one. Really loved the beautiful writing and eery feel, but I can't honestly say I understood what the heck was going on! 3.5/4 stars.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well, that was a ramble. One Hundred Shadows is a story of a small handful of people among the poor of South Korea. They have shadows which are... symbolic! The actual plot of this novel is minimal. It consists mainly of episodes in the lives of Mujae and Eungyo, who are lovers (or are they?) being chased by symbolic shadows in an electronics market which the government wants to demolish.

This is a book I read for the blurb. I'm not entirely sure how I came across it. One day I didn't have it, an
Beth Chats Books
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 star read. This book had beautiful imagery. I loved the repeated metaphor of shadows rising and floating away. I also loved the personification of people's shadows and how they became the representation of characters inner turmoils within the novel. The world Hwang Jungeun created was bleak yet intoxicatingly mystical and alluring. The characters of Eungyo and Mujae were fascinating and their romance captivating. I loved the subtleties in this novel. A very well composed novel.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like the writing style and it's a quick read, but I have no idea what I just read.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Quiet, meandering, a little slight, and although I never thought I'd say this, could have used more magical realism.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This will make you excited about contemporary literature again.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book’s publisher describes this book as a “mix of oblique fantasy, hard-edge social critique, and offbeat romance.” I’m not sure I can do any better.

It was inspired apparently by the Yongsan Tragedy which, predictably enough, I’d never heard of and I doubt many outside Korea will have but instead of tackling the story head on and trying to produce something like the documentary film Two Doors Hwang Jungeun here provides a more thoughtful and even poetic take on not so much the tragedy i
Julianne (Outlandish Lit)
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases
Yeah, like me, I said, and then it hit me. I looked down at my feet, and sensed something odd about the way they were outlined, against the pine cones and white oak leaves splayed over soft soil. My shadow, spread out thin, very thin, stretched out from the little toe of my right foot all the way into the thickets.

If you like your novellas in translation with a hint of creepy magical realism, this is the one for you. Set in a slum electronics market in South Korea, a girl starts to notice that h
Callum McAllister
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delicate novel with some pretty delicious writing. The highlights for me were all the bits to do with poverty in Seoul and the way she captures a modern urban landscape while keeping it all eerie and scrappy.
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