In South Korea, underground motorcycle gangs attract society’s castoffs. They form groups of hundreds and speed wildly through cities at night. For Jae and Dongyu, two orphans, their motorcycles are a way of survival.
Jae is born in a bathroom stall at the Seoul Express Bus Terminal. And Dongyu is born mute—unable to communicate with anyone except Jae. Both boys grow up on the streets of Seoul among runaway teenagers, con men, prostitutes, religious fanatics, and thieves. After years navigating the streets, Jae becomes an icon for uprooted teenagers, bringing an urgent message to them and making his way to the top of the gang. Under his leadership, the group grows more aggressive and violent—and soon becomes the police’s central target.
A novel of friendship—worship and betrayal, love and loathing—and a searing portrait of what it means to come of age with nothing to call your own, I Hear Your Voice resonates with mythic power. Here is acclaimed author Young-ha Kim’s most daring novel to date.
Suddenly he receives a mysterious email, a directive seemingly from the home office. He has one day to return to headquarters. He hasn’t heard from anyone in over ten years. Why is he being called back now? Is this message really from Pyongyang? Is he returning to receive new orders or to be executed for a lack of diligence? Has someone in the South discovered his secret identity? Is this a trap?
Spanning the course of one day, Your Republic Is Calling You is an emotionally taut, psychologically astute, haunting novel that reveals the depth of one particularly gripping family secret and the way in which we sometimes never really know the people we love. Confronting moral questions on small and large scales, it mines the political and cultural transformations that have transformed South Korea since the 1980s. A lament for the fate of a certain kind of man and a certain kind of manhood, it is ultimately a searing study of the long and insidious effects of dividing a nation in two.
In 1904, facing war and the loss of their nation, more than a thousand Koreans leave their homes for the promise of land in unknown Mexico. After a long sea voyage, these emigrants — thieves and royals, priests and soldiers, orphans and entire families — discover that they have been sold into indentured servitude.
Aboard the ship, the orphan Ijeong fell in love with a nobleman’s daughter; separated when the hacendados claim their laborers, he vows to find her. Then, after years of working in the punishing heat of the henequen fields, the Koreans are caught in the midst of a Mexican revolution. A tale of star-crossed love, political turmoil, and the dangers of seeking freedom in a new world, Black Flower is an epic story based on a little-known moment in history.
“Kim is at the leading edge of a new breed of South Korean writers.” — Philadelphia City Paper
“Spare and beautiful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Readers who remember the historical fiction of Thomas B. Costain, Zoé Oldenbourg and Anya Seton will appreciate [Kim’s] extensive research and empathic imagination." — Kirkus Reviews