Author: Myeong-Kwan CHEON
455 pages | 223*152mm
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|>>>This book is written in Korean.|
About This Book
To summarize the plot in a sentence, this novel is the story of the various ups and downs in the extraordinary and tumultuous lives of three women over a period of three generations. It is a story of so many things - loneliness, love, disappointment, death, despair, success, misunderstanding, crime, vengeance, hope and resilience. There seems to be hardly an aspect of human existence omitted.
Acting as a background and linking thread to the novel is the bitter old woman who runs a rice and soup restaurant. Incredibly ugly, she is unable to marry, and she spends her life working in other peoples' kitchens. Eventually she sets up her own restaurant, relentlessly amassing money and vowing vengeance on the world. She hides all her money in the roof, but when she dies in an accident the money remains hidden, together with its curse.
Geum-bok is the character that dominates the first two parts of the book. Brought up in the countryside, she has an adventurous spirit and she goes to the seaside where she works for a fish merchant. Her subsequent marriage, suicide of her husband and her murder of the man that she mistakenly thinks killed him makes this part of her life a time of despair and disaster. However, one theme of this story is the 'rags to riches' success of a country girl becoming a successful business woman and entrepreneur. Moving to the town of Pyeongdae, Geum-bok finds the fortune left by the old woman and sets up a brick factory which rakes in money. She then builds a film theatre, the most striking building in Pyeongdae. However, the money is cursed. Thwarted in love, Geum-bok gives herself up to drink and burns down the theatre.
Our third woman is Chun-hui, Geum-bok's daughter. Of massive build and dumb from birth, she learns all there is to know about brick making from her stepfather. However, she is wrongly charged with arson and sentenced to ten years in prison. She too seems cursed. Nonetheless, Chun-hui is wonderfully resilient. Returning to the ruined brick factory after her release from prison, she starts making bricks again. Despite further trials and tribulations, in course of time her skill is recognized and she becomes known as the 'Queen of Red Bricks.'
"The main virtue of 'The Queen of Red Bricks' is its incredible readability. There is not a boring moment in this book - a rare find." -- Kyunghyang Daily News
"The charm of this novel lies in its brilliantly exaggerated description. The plausible absurdity of the plot and the language sweep the reader along like a giant snowball, reaching epic proportions." -- Hankook Ilbo
- 10th Munhakdongne Novel Award
- Arts Council Korea 2005 Outstanding Book Award
- Korean Publishers' Association Book of the Month
- 2005 Book of the Year
About the Author
CHEON Myeong-Kwan's writing career took off when he won the 2003 Munhakdongne New Writers Award for his short story 'Frank and Me.' Only a year later in 2004, he won the 10th Munhakdongne Novel Award for 'The Queen of Red Bricks'. He has also published a fiction collection entitled 'Marisa, the Merry Maid'. In addition to fiction, Cheon has written screenplays such as 'The Gunslinger' and 'The Beijing Cuisine.' He is currently planning on becoming a movie director.
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