Translated by Anton Hur
‘Mesmerising, dreamlike and prescient in its sharpness and attentiveness to the dynamics between women and the male and female gaze’ Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti
‘Darkly beautiful, VIOLETS explores the toll of abandonment and relentless marginalisation’ Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face
‘Violets lavishes attention on the kind of person who often slips through the cracks, unseen or ignored. There is a beauty and a bravery in speaking for small lives’ Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You
‘Has a way of seeing past the smooth surface of societal appearance and into the fragile, obscure psychological space that lies just beneath’ Alexandra Kleenman, author of Something New Under the Sun
‘An intimate portrait of isolation and unspoken desire. Darkly poetic, dreamlike and meditative’ Adelle Stripe, author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile
South Korea, 1970.
San is a lonely child, ostracised from her community. She soon finds a friend in a girl called Namae, until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path.
We next meet San, aged twenty-two, when she happens upon a job at a flower shop in Seoul’s bustling city centre. Over the course of one hazy, volatile summer, San is introduced to a curious cast of characters – the mute shop owner, a brash co-worker, kind farmers and aggressive customers – and fuelled by a quiet desperation to jump-start her life, she plunges headfirst into obsession with a passing magazine photographer. Throughout it all, San’s moment with Namae continues to linger in the back of her mind.
A story of thwarted desire, misogyny and erasure, Violets reveals the high stakes involved in one woman’s desperate search for both autonomy and attachment in an unforgiving society.