It's always funny when there's much more to a novel than its description let on. From the blurb on the back, I expected #PavaneforaDeadPrincess
to come out swinging at the #SouthKorea
we know from cultural exports, the one dubiously crowned plastic surgery capital of the world. And it does come from that place, but its not the confrontational or satirical book I imagined. Instead, the title gives you a hint about its tone - it's quite melancholy and contemplative, and its central love plot has an authentic tenderness. I'm strongly reminded of Murakami's #NorwegianWood
- maybe too much. #ParkMinGyu
's novel likewise features a university-aged male protagonist who feels emotionally hobbled and fumbles through life, unequal to loving another person but trying - not to mention all these oblique references to western pop music, and even a frame narrative about a flight touching down in Germany (!!) However I'd say it arguably goes farther than Murakami's novel in ways and reaches different conclusions. It does have many critical, bitterly insightful moments, but they're more like embedded observations, sidebars, than they are the story's drivers. So I'm still looking for a novel that takes down South Korea's modern beauty culture in an acid way. I don't regret the read though. It actually did have plenty of style and weight, and yes, that most problematic quality, beauty.