Shoko’s Smile ~ Choi Eunyoung


In crisp, unembellished prose, Choi Eunyoung paints intimate portraits of the lives of young women in South Korea, balancing the personal with the political. In the title story, a fraught friendship between an exchange student and her host sister follows them from adolescence to adulthood. In ‘A Song from Afar’, a young woman grapples with the death of her lover, travelling to Russia to search for information about the deceased. In ‘Secret’, the parents of a teacher killed in the Sewol ferry sinking hide the news of her death from her grandmother.

In the tradition of Sally Rooney, Banana Yoshimoto, and Marilynne Robinson – writers from different cultures who all take an unvarnished look at human relationships and the female experience – Choi Eunyoung is a writer to watch.

Translated by Sung Ryu.

Choi Eunyoung is a South Korean writer. The author of the story collections Shoko’s Smile and Someone Who Cannot Hurt Me.

Further reading:

Read: Shoko’s Smile (an excerpt), Penguin

Review: “Shoko’s Smile: Stories” by Choi Eunyoung, Asian Review of Books

Prompt: Write a letter from your 16-year-old self. Use this as a starting point for a story.

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