Cover Image: The End of August

The End of August

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Member Reviews

A fantastic blending of elements of Japanese and Korean language, which for some readers can be difficult to navigate but it is such a great element to the story. It is complex but enjoyable. It definitely requires getting comfortable with the writing style.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for this Advanced Readers Copy of The End of August by Yu Miri!

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Thank you so much to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book early!

If anyone has come across this book after reading the first of Yu Miri's works to be translated, Tokyo Ueno Station, then you know that she writes about complex people who must reconcile with a difficult history. The End of August is no different. We follow the main character who, in present day Japan, seeks out a Korean shaman to help her commune with her famous, marathon champion grandfather so she can run a marathon herself. She does get what she asks for, and then some, as she must now confront not only her family's past but also confront the brutal history of colonisation, conquest, and erasure.

Told in a non-linear, lyrical style and full of unflinching portrayals of a brutal history, this chunky book is one that is best read over a longer period of time, rather than devoured. Even so, I know this book will be one I continue to recommend over and over again.

For fans of Pachinko, which portrays the legacy of the Japanese colonisation of Korea and centers around the Koreans who moved to Japan, this is another deeply heart-wrenching family saga but this time packed with magical realism that should not be missed.

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A family saga that covers historical events in Korea from the 1920's to the present. Told initially through the perspective of Yu Miri who through a shaman ritual has met various ghosts starting with her grandfather Lee Woo Cheol. It then goes back in time to explore the family's past as they undergo the Japanese occupation, WWII, and subsequent rebuilding years. Overall, an intense look at one family's trajectory during a tumultuous time. The format of the book was very different and readers who prefer a straightforward narrative may have a hard time getting into this one. Readers with a background of this time period in Korean history may get more out of this.

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