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Cho Nam-Joo Books In Order

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Miss Kim Knows and Other Stories (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Cho Nam-Joo is a former television scriptwriter turned bestselling science fiction author best known for her novel “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982.”

The author was brought up in one of the poorest suburbs of Seoul in a family that was not financially or emotionally stable.

Even during that time, she loved reading but the libraries around hardly had any books and her family did not have any money to buy books. As such, most of the books that she read were the ones she borrowed from her friends and her siblings.
Writing too was something she started doing very early on. She used to reveal her feelings and fears in diaries that she would then share with her classmates.

Later on, she would become a scriptwriter as she penned all manner of scripts for TV. While Choo Na-Joo loved writing for TV, the job paid very little so she decided to quit and start a family.
In fact, she never even thought there was any money to be made in writing until she penned “Kim Ji Young.” In interviews, she has said she was completely taken by surprise when the novels went viral and launched her career as an author.

Much of Cho Nam-Joo ‘s work is inspired by her upbringing in Seoul. When she was growing up, she lived in a home with a big brother who was much older and an older sister who was closer to her in age.

While her mother worked, Nam-Joo used to make meals for her brother and father, despite the fact that she was very young. Even though it was subtle, she often felt the injustices as a natural part of life, just like the lead character in her blockbuster work.
When she was much older, she went graduated from high school and college but never got to understand the nature of sexual discrimination.

It was after she graduated from university, got a job, got married, and started dealing with her patriarchal in-laws that she started taking discrimination more seriously.

Cho Nam-Joo believes it was her many experiences that made it possible for her to write her blockbuster work so fast without needing a lot of prep work.

She believes that women have pretty much similar experiences in their lives and this is what she set out to document in her works.

The biggest turning point for Cho Nam-Joo came when she was working at a broadcasting station in Seoul. At the workplace, management always expected female workers to set up tables at meal times regardless of the hierarchy.

One time, a junior colleague told her to order him a sandwich and this was the breaking point as she started seeing all manner of weird and discriminatory behavior all over. She soon quit her job and went on to become a stay-at-home mother.

As her child got older and became more independent, she suddenly found she had too much time on her hands. She began penning novels and soon enough published “When You Listen” in 2011.

Over the years, she won so many awards in her native career but it was not until she published “Kim Jiyoung” that she would become the huge author that she is.

Written in three months, it became a huge hit that was translated into several languages and became a bestseller in South Korea, Europe, and North America.

The work and several others that followed it were all about the inequality and discrimination against women in Korea.

Kim Ji-Young, born in 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo is the work that sparked the “MeToo Movement” in South Korea and would become the flashpoint of backlash and gender discussions.

The lead in the novel tells of an ordinary Korean woman from when she was born in 1982 right up to 2016. Kim Ji-Young the lead is a victim of systemic misogyny throughout her life.

Whether it was as a child in her family, as a student in school and university, in the workplace, and later on as a mother and wife. She does not only suffer because of the usual masochism but also because of several other factors.
Some of these factors include conservative gender roles, the economic crisis, the education system, and questions of agency to do with intersectional feminism.

There is an overall feeling of internalized societal norms and powerlessness that result in female trauma and self-alienation that haunts women over generations.

When the lead was born, her mother has to apologize to her mother-in-law for giving birth to a girl. When Kim gets pregnant with a girl child, people try to cheer her up as they feel sorry for her.
It is very clear that being a woman in that society is associated with failure.

“Her Name is” by Cho Nam-Joo is a collection of the stories of 27 women of different backgrounds and ages. The author interviewed these women to pen some inspiring and touching stories that speak to the experiences of many women across the world.
The work shines a spotlight on a range of phenomena such as women who have to deal with sexual harassment that goes unpunished and women who are pressurize to get married because they are too old.
There are also pregnant women that are despised by society, simply because they demand their right to be treated fairly.

A particularly jarring story is one of a woman who asks for a divorce from her husband given that she has been unhappy for so long. However many in her society tell her that she has taken the wrong path.
According to Cho Nam-Joo, women need to take charge of their own lives and make their own choice.

Whether they are a housewife, have children, or are married or not, it is important to be just yourself and not lose your identity being someone’s mother, daughter-in-law, wife, or employee.

Cho Nam-Joo’s novel “Saha” is a work set in Town, a fictional island that has once been the colony of a long-defunct corporation.

It has then been taken over by some shadowy foreign investors and soon enough, it has become an autonomous city-state under the leadership of a shadowy cabal of authoritarian men.

The focus of the work is the crumbling Saha Estates where the most marginalized, impoverished, and lowest people live as they work on the dirty and lowest paid work available.

The rest of the town is made up of prosperous people who trade knowledge and skills for privileged existences and financial independence.

At the opening of the novel, a once prosperous man named Su who was in a relationship with Do Kyung a low-class man just died.

Do Kyung flees his home and abandons his lover’s body, leaving Jin-Kyung his sister to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance and Su’s death.

It is a work that draws much of its inspiration from Kowloon the Walled City which remain separated from Hong Kong after it came under British rule.

Similar to Kowloon, Saha Estates is home to a prosperous community with close bonds and rules but could potentially degenerate into lawlessness.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Cho Nam-Joo

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