Table for One

Stories

Yun Ko-eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler

Columbia University Press

Table for One

Pub Date: October 2020

ISBN: 9780231192033

256 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $20.00£16.99

Pub Date: October 2020

ISBN: 9780231192026

256 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Pub Date: October 2020

ISBN: 9780231549622

256 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $19.99£16.99

Table for One

Stories

Yun Ko-eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler

Columbia University Press

An office worker who has no one to eat lunch with enrolls in a course that builds confidence about eating alone. A man with a pathological fear of bedbugs offers up his body to save his building from infestation. A time capsule in Seoul is dug up hundreds of years before it was intended to be unearthed. A vending machine repairman finds himself trapped in a shrinking motel during a never-ending snowstorm.

In these and other indelible short stories, contemporary South Korean author Yun Ko-eun conjures up slightly off-kilter worlds tucked away in the corners of everyday life. Her fiction is bursting with images that toe the line between realism and the fantastic. Throughout Table for One, comedy and an element of the surreal are interwoven with the hopelessness and loneliness that pervades the protagonists’ decidedly mundane lives. Yun’s stories focus on solitary city dwellers, and her eccentric, often dreamlike humor highlights their sense of isolation. Mixing quirky and melancholy commentary on densely packed urban life, she calls attention to the toll of rapid industrialization and the displacement of traditional culture. Acquainting the English-speaking audience with one of South Korea’s breakout young writers, Table for One presents a parade of misfortunes that speak to all readers in their unconventional universality.
Reflecting the quirky and dysfunctional interiority of its characters, Table for One provides a unique insight into modern Koreans. Yun has a distinct literary personality that puts her in the company of major contemporary Korean women writers like Pyun Hye-young, Jo Kyung-ran, Han Kang, and Han Yujoo. Heinz Insu Fenkl, author of Memories of My Ghost Brother

About the Author

Yun Ko-eun is the award-winning author of three novels and three short story collections. Born in 1980, she lives in Seoul.

Lizzie Buehler is a translator from Korean and an MFA student in literary translation at the University of Iowa.