The Dwarf

Cho Se-hui

translated from the Korean
University of Hawaii Press 2006 [1978]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2007
The Dwarf is a series of linked stories which follow a dwarf and his family in 1970s South Korea. They involve his attempts to find a livelihood without joining a circus, the demolition of the family house in a slum clearance, his children's recruitment into the industrial proletariat, and their involvement with organised labour. Connected to this are stories about a scion of an elite family, cramming for ultra-competitive university entrance exams, failing to find happiness in sex, and experiencing a rather different introduction to politics.

These stories are often forthrightly political, in a fashion which may be uncomfortable to Western readers — and which one suspects must have only just got past the censors. But the directness of Cho Se-hui's writing is engaging, and his stories are appealing as stories, not just for their depiction of the human cost of economic growth in one of Asia's tiger economies.

July 2007

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%T The Dwarf
%A Cho Se-hui
%M Korean
%F Fulton, Bruce
%F Fulton, Ju-Chan
%I University of Hawaii Press
%D 2006 [1978]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0824831012
%P 224pp