Albertine Book Club “Winter in Sokcho” by Elisa Shua Dusapin
In January, the Albertine Book Club will read Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins, and published by Open letter. Published in 2016 to wide acclaim in France, it was awarded the Prix Robert Walser and the Prix Régine Desforges and has been translated into six languages. In 2021, Winter in Sokcho won the National Book Awards for Translated Literature.
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.
An exquisitely-crafted debut, 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.