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Meeting with My Brother

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Yi Mun-yol's Meeting with My Brother is narrated by a middle-aged South Korean professor, also named Yi, whose father abandoned his family and defected to the North at the outbreak of the Korean War. Many years later, despite having spent most of his life under a cloud of suspicion as the son of a traitor, Yi is prepared to reunite with his father. Yet before a rendezvous ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Columbia University Press (first published 1994)
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Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Meeting with My Brother: A Novella" is a semi-autobiographical novel about the restrictions mainstream society placed on one of many families during the Korean War. Narrator Yi described the aftermath of his father's defection to the North during the war.

Yi's father, an intellectual, was a member of the Korean Worker's Party. By defecting, his family was stigmatized. It was guilt by association. Yi's mother constantly moved with her children, living in the shadows to keep them safe. Yi became
Paul Fulcher
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Perhaps that is what reunification is, only on a grander scale and all at once: meeting a brother whose face you've never seen.

이문열 (Yi Mun-yol) is perhaps my favourite South Korean author from the post-war generation, based on his classic My Twisted Hero, his first novel, The Son of Man, which was one of my favourite reads of 2016 (my review: and the excellent The Poet (see

He was born in Seoul in 1948. His
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
How I read this: Free ebook copy received through NetGalley

This was stunning. Made me incredibly emotional, and I couldn't even believe it - I am a foreigner who has never been even in the same continent, much less the country this is about, but it made me feel so many things so deeply. The author is incredibly talented, to be able to bring the emotion of separation of family, deep regret and longing so well through cultural, historical, political barriers (and a lot of that is also thanks to
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, biographies
Apart from a few beautiful lines which alluded to the fraught, complex relationship between North and South Korea, the writing in this semi-autobiographical novella seemed very 'textbook' most of the time, almost like reading a journalist's report. As a result, the anticipated exchange between the half-brothers didn't really move me. Perhaps only someone who has undergone a heart-wrenching separation from family would grasp its poignancy. The 'surprising turn' mentioned in the synopsis didn't ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Meeting with My Brother is a semi-autobiographical novella based on author Mun-Yol Yi's experience. Yi is a professor in South Korea. In the story, his father (as in real life) left South Korea on the heels of the Communist defeat and went to live in North Korea. His family that was left behind suffered terribly under the legal persecution of families who had a member who defected to the north.

Despite a childhood of extreme hardship and poverty, and constant moves to avoid retaliatory acts
Lalola La
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
حبيت اولا انه رواية مترجمة عن مؤلف كوري جنوبي ..لاني بحب كوريا جدا ومهتمة بثقافتها
الكتاب بيوضح الخلافات بين الشمال والجنوب ، وازاي ان الاهل ده في حتة و ده في حتة
وتقريبا كعادة الكوريين بيحبوا الروابط الاسرية ، والاهل و اللمة
فالكتاب كان مؤثر جدا .. واتعلمت شوية عن الثقافات بتاعتهم بزيادة عن الي اعرفه
اتمنى ان النوع من الترجمات ده يزيد
:D :D
Muhammad Galal
موعد مع أخيه ، أخيه من أبيه، الذي يقطن في كوريا الشمالية و الراوي يقطن في كوريا الجنوبية، عيوب العمل المترجم واضحة عيوبه من حيث غياب الحياة في النص، العمل إنساني و يحكي مشاكل ما بعد الانفصال، و الفارق في مستوى معيشة الأفراد(أخوين) في الكوريتين، مع بعض الشئون الأسرية التي لم ترقَ إلى حد التعقيد، أكرر لعل الترجمة أنقصت كثيرًا من بريق العمل، عمل مقبول، نجمتان من أصل خمسة.
Nader Mohamed
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
هل يمكن للحدود والمسافات بل واختلاف النشأة والثقافات بل حتى مع وجود العداءات والتواترات أن تهزم سلطان الفطرة وقوى العاطفة عند الإنسان؟ وهل يمكن أن تنقلب نظرتك لشخص من الضغينة والحقد إلى المحبة والتآلف فقط لأنه ذاق نفس العذاب الذي ذقته؟ وهل تفرّق الأوطان يفرّق _بالضروة_ بين الشعوب؟

في هذه النوفيلا تجد حكاية واقعية عن مأساة الانفصال والحرب الدائرة بين الكوريتين، وصرخات دعوات التوحد ولمّ الشمل بين التأييد والرفض.

بطلنا يخطط للقاء أبيه قبل أن يدركه الموت؛ وأين أبوه؟

الأب أستاذ اقتصاد من كوريا
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although a relatively short novella, this is a multi-layered and complex tale which although on the surface simply a story of half-brothers meeting for the first time encompasses decades of history and explores what it means to live in a divided nation. The author is an acclaimed writer in his native South Korea but I hadn't come across him before and found the comprehensive introduction not just illuminating but pretty much essential to appreciating the book. The narrator of the story hoped to ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I wasn't sure what to expect from this novella and came away from it feeling a little disappointed and that I had missed out somewhere along the line. The book begins with an interesting essay about Yi Mun-Yol's life and unusual literary career and I appreciated this additional background into the work, its author, and the challenges faced by the translators. Once onto the novella however, I found it difficult to really appreciate the story.
Amr Ahmed Mansoor
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يمثل الكتاب معاناة الكوريتين بعد الانفصال
ايضا يسقط المعاناة لا ع الشكل السياسي و الاقتصادي فقط انما علي الشكل الاجتماعي
اسلوب جميل و طريقة سلسة سهلة
كما ان الكاتب لم يطيل في الوصف
Hoda Marmar
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabic, own, favorites
روعة! يا ريت اقرا روايات تانية للكاتب 3>
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Korea is divided and families are torn apart. What would it really be like to finally find the family you've never met? Would there be any common ground, or are the divisions between the two countries two great even for blood to overcome? Such are the questions explored in "Meeting with My Brother," the novella by Yi Mun-Yol, appearing here in a new translation by Heinz Insu Fenkl and Yoosup Chang.

I frankly acknowledge that my knowledge of Korean literature should be measured in negative
Tonstant Weader
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yi Mun-yŏl is one of Korea’s most respected authors. When he was a child, his father abandoned the family, defecting to North Korea. This shamed the family and left them impoverished as they were widely shunned as the family of a traitor. He quit school, contemplated suicide, and found his salvation in writing. In Meeting with My Brother, the main character is also named Yi, also the son of a defector, also the product of an impoverished struggle as the son of a traitor, also a man saved by ...more
May 22, 2019 added it
بأسلوب الجمل البسيطة والسرد الذاتي رُسم واقع صريح بكل ايجابياته وسلبياته عن تأثير الانفصال (انفصال الكوريتين) على الشخصيات والاماكن، غلب على الرواية الأسلوب التحليلي والتوثيقي والتاريخ المعلوماتي حول قضية انفصال الكوريتين حيث لا تستطيع ان تقرأ هذه الرواية بمعزل عن تاريخ البلدين (شكر خاص للمترجم طاهر البربري على التفصيل الدقيق بهذا الجانب)،
كتبت بأسلوب صريح وواضح ومباشر وهذا يشمل عنوان الرواية "موعد مع أخي" الذي ينضح بساطة،
موعد للأسى والحزن والدهشة والتأمل والغضب والفرح،
في هذا الموعد تعرفتُ على
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: korea, fiction
This is a quick read in many senses. It's short and the story moves along. I heard a lot about it before finally reading it myself but I came away with the feeling of "it was okay." Not amazing and not bad either. I wonder if a lot of people praised it just because it's about a meeting of north and south. I don't know. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading this novella but wouldn't have them go out of their way either, especially if they were looking for a single example of contemporary Korean ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
الرواية قليلة الصفحات كما هو واضح بالطبع.
كما هو مكتوب في غلافها الخلفي فإنها تتحدث عن لقاء خيالي بين الراوي الذي يعيش في كوريا الجنوبية وأخيه لوالده الذي يعيش في كوريا الشمالية في فترة ليست بعيدة عن انفصال الكوريتين.
الترجمة كانت جيدة، والأسلوب كان بسيطًا. برغم اعتباري لهذه الرواية كوجبة خفيفة إلا أن ما أعجبني فيها العرض.
كيف عرض الكاتب وجهه نظر مؤيدي الوحدة ورافضيها، وكيف يمكن أن يرى الإخوة بعضهما البعض في ظل ظروف سياسية ما. كيف يمكن للسياسة أن تؤثر في مشاعر البشر تجاه بعضهم البعض!
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a book of action. Informative. Suited my mood.
Moray Teale
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Meeting With My Brother is a compelling story on two deliberately related themes as Yi Mun-Yol describes his first encounter with a younger brother he has never met. Towards the end of the Korean War Yi's father, an ardent supporter of the communist regime, fled into North Korea, leaving behind his wife and children in the hope that they would soon be reunited. As Korea remained divided this never came to pass and in trying to trace his father Yi discovers that he has remarried and raised a ...more
Victoria Victoria
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dans la série « je comble mes lacunes lentement mais sûrement », je viens de découvrir Yi Mun-yol, célèbre écrivain coréen maintes fois primé, dont je n'avais absolument... jamais entendu parler ! Shame on me !

Tout d'abord et simplement pour le plaisir graphique, voici son nom en coréen :


Je trouve ces caractères de toute beauté comme le roman que je viens de terminer :

Il s'agit d'une novella, mais je crois qu'un classement dans les essais aurait été tout aussi pertinent. En effet, le voyage
Beth Asma
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Meeting with My Brother, two brothers who have never met because of the early 1950s Korean War, make furtive arrangements through a go-between to do so in a town near the Chinese border. The son from the South is in a travelers' group; the one from the North is visiting an Uncle. The translation flows very well; the reader can appreciate the feelings of characters from each side of the divide and some issues such as reunification and preservation of Korean culture from before the division. In ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Korean War, Yi’s father had deserted his family in South Korea and defected to the North. Now, years later, as the two countries contemplate reunification, Yi has learned not only of his father’s death but that he had another family in North Korea. He decides to meet his half-brother. At first, the meeting seems unlikely to accomplish anything because of shared distrust but, slowly, as the two trade stories of their lives, interestingly often mirroring each other, they begin to realize ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yi Mun-Yol's 'Meeting with My Brother' is a slim little thing. Weighing it at just 92 pages under the best of circumstances, it's a featherweight of a novella that attempts to punch above its weight.

Set in the early 90's, 'Meeting with My Brother' follows the life of a fictional Professor Yi as he reunites with his half-brother Yi Hyeok following news of his father's death in North Korea.
The movement is slow as tension builds between the conflicting, and eventually colliding, histories of both
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is my first experience of Korean literature and, although a slim volume, I found it quite a challenging read as it contains a lot of detail about the history and politics of Korea, notably the separation of North and South Korea and prospects for reunification. There are a lot of allegorical features with characters representing particular aspects of ideological thought, such as Mr Reunification. Similarly the two brothers really represent the two parts of the divided nation. Only a small ...more
فاطمة م.نور
رغم الحديث الكبير عن الكوريتين اقتصاديا وسياسيا لكنني أحببتها، لأنني أفهم ولو قليلا عن الثقافة التي تحدث عنها، وكذلك أسلوب المؤلف جيد وإنساني، يأتي الحديث على لسان الشخصيات حيا ومعبرا عن آراءها، لا ميتا لملء الصفحات فقط، والترجمة جميلة أيضا
مقطع لقاء الأخوين من الرواية، تمنيت لو كنت أجيد الكورية لأقرأه أو أني سمعته بطريقة ما، لأني أردت أن أعرف أي أسلوب يستخدمان؟ الرسمي أم الغير رسمي؟ وكذلك بالنسبة لحوارهما الأخير
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
4.5 stars. I picked this novella up on a whim as part of trying to learn more about Korean history, and it's excellent. Although sold as fiction, it has a very autobiographical feel and there's a lot to unpack about family, abandonment, political conviction, and ideology.
Ann  Theis
Jul 28, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2017-stars
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a revelation about life in Korea! This book managed to capture the emotional aftermath of social and political conflict on family relations. Such brilliant insight is a rare gem!
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley, review to come.
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Yi Mun-yol (born May 18, 1948) is a South Korean writer.

Yi Mun-yol was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1948, but the outbreak of the Korean War and his father's defection to North Korea forced his family to move about until they settled in Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do, the ancestral seat of his family. The fact that his father defected dramatically affected his life, as he was seen and treated as
“حقيقي أن السذاجة تُستقبل على أنها غباء أو عدم نضج، و لكن السذاجة تستطيع أحيانًا أن تحرك المشاعر بسبب ما تحمله في داخلها من عاطفة نقية.” 2 likes
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