There a Petal Silently Falls offers polished English translations of three works of fiction by the acclaimed South Korean writer and critic Ch'oe Yun. An intellectual author with a penchant for allegories and a keen appreciation for the indeterminacy of language, Ch'oe has been called heir to the tradition of experimental writing begun in Korea by the likes of Yi Sang, and yet, even at its most abstruse and self-referential, Ch'oe's fiction has maintained a close link to contemporary social reality and historical critique that one expects more readily of realist fiction. Indeed, a sustained theme in Ch'oe's works concerns the weight of collective, often anonymous, violence on individual lives and identities. In her early fiction, such a concern is tethered to specific aspects of Korea's modern history, including Korean division, the antigovernment student movement, and the 1980 massacre of civilians in Kwangju, while her later works increasingly probe the...

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