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Elisa Shua Dusapin: Winter in Sokcho


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Winter in Sokcho has been selected as Litfest’s International Fiction Book Club (IFBC) choice for December 2021. Learn more about the IFBC here.

A finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature

‘Beautifully translated from the French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins, comes together slowly, like a Polaroid photo, its effects both intimate and foreign.’ — TLS

‘A masterful short novel’ — New Statesman

‘A punchy first novel.’ — Guardian Top 10 Best New Books in Translation

‘Enigmatic, beguiling… This finely crafted debut explores topics of identity and heredity in compelling fashion. In its aimless, outsider protagonist there are echoes of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman.’ —  Irish Times


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Synopsis: It’s winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. Bodies are red and raw, the fish turn venomous, beyond the beach guns point out from the North’s watchtowers. A young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One evening, an unexpected guest arrives: a French cartoonist determined to find inspiration in this desolate landscape.

The two form an uneasy relationship. When she agrees to accompany him on trips to discover an ‘authentic’ Korea, they visit snowy mountaintops and dramatic waterfalls, and cross into North Korea. But he takes no interest in the Sokcho she knows – the gaudy neon lights, the scars of war, the fish market where her mother works. As she’s pulled into his vision and taken in by his drawings, she strikes upon a way to finally be seen.

An exquisitely-crafted debut, which won the Prix Robert Walser, Winter in Sokcho is a novel about shared identities and divided selves, vision and blindness, intimacy and alienation. Elisa Shua Dusapin’s voice is distinctive and unmistakable.

Author: Elisa Shua Dusapin (translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins)
Title: Winter in Sokcho
Publisher: Daunt Books
ISBN: 9781911547549
Original Publication Date: 2016
This Edition Published: Feb 2020
Binding: Paperback, 128pp

About the Author

Elisa Shua Dusapin was born in France and raised in Paris, Seoul and Switzerland. Winter in Sokcho (Hiver à Sokcho) is her first novel. Published in 2016 to wide acclaim, it was awarded the Prix Robert Walser and the Prix Régine Desforges, and has been translated into six languages. Aneesa Abbas Higgins is a London-based translator and writer. Her translations include What Became of the White Savage by François Garde, which was the winner of a PEN Translates award, and Seven Stones by Vénus Khoury-Ghata, for which she was shortlisted for the Scott Moncrieff Prize.


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