The book shows what true love is in the midst of the rapid dissolution of values that were much appreciated in the past.
- Book Intro
Sang-ryong is the oldest son in the seventeenth-generation of an illustrious family of Jo from the region of Seoan—that had been greatly prosperous but is in decline now; he returns to his family estate, Hyogyedang House after completing his military duty. His grandfather asks Sang-ryong, who studies in the department of Korean literature at a provincial college, to explicate ten or more letters of the tenth matriarch of the family that he unearthed while relocating the burial mound.
His grandfather, who spent his whole life trying to safeguard the propriety and honor of the family, would not acknowledge the biological mother of Sang-ryong and forced his father into marriage with a woman he handpicked with great consideration. But shortly after, his father ends his own life and Sang-ryong’s grandfather reluctantly took him in as the oldest son of the family. He was then reared by his new mother, Yu, but grew more attached to their maid, called Dalshiru Woman who did the housekeeping. He, however, harbors begrudging feelings toward her daughter, Jeong-sil, for she was plump, ugly, and limped and never left the kitchen. It started off on the wrong track but his feelings turn deeper as time passes.
The novel intricately interweaves the letter of his foremother written in the antiquated style, and Sang-ryong’s reading reveals explicitly the sorrows and suffering of the women that they experienced under a patriarchal system. The pain of the tenth-generation grandmother is reenacted through Jeong-sil who much later was thrown out of Hyogyedang House.
- About the Author
Sim Yun Kyung
In 2002, she became the seventh winner of the Hankyoreh Literary prize for her autobiographical coming-of-age novel, My Beautiful Garden; thus began her writing career. In 2005, she received the 6th Muyeung Literary Prize for “The Moon’s Altar.” She is the author of the following full-length novels, Yi Hyeon’s Love Story, Love is Running, and Love Completes, Seol-I and her novel in serialization, The People of Seorabeol, and a children’s book, Report on Reconciliation.
Winner of the 6th Muyeung Literary Award