Excerpt from Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Love in the Big City

by Sang Young Park

Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park X
Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 240 pages

    Nov 2022, 256 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rachel Hullett
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

After my defense of her sort of outed me, the two of us developed a relationship that consisted in the first place of talking trash about boys, as neither of us had previously had anyone with whom to share such thoughts, making us both desperate for a sounding board.

Jaehee and I had very little sense of chastity, or none at all, to be honest, and we were apparently known for it in our respective spheres. Jaehee was five foot six and 112 pounds, while I was five ten and 172 pounds, both a bit taller than average but neither particularly attractive nor a complete lost cause, just enough not to embarrass any partner. (Note that when I won a New Writers Award for fiction, the judges' comments were united in their praise of my "objective self-judgment"). The world was just not ready for the boundless energy of poor, promiscuous twenty-year-olds. We met whatever men we wanted without putting much effort into it, drank ourselves torpid, and in the morning met in each other's rooms to apply cosmetic masks to our swollen faces and exchange tidbits about the men we had been with the night before.

—He works at a company that makes hiking gear. Small dick but good foreplay, I think worth fifty points?

—He says he went to Yonsei University, studying statistics, but I think that's a lie. His face was a blank space, and I kept wanting to laugh because whenever he said something, it was obvious his head was just as empty.

—He tried to take a video while we were in bed, so I threw his phone across the room. He said he wasn't going to share it with anyone, like I'd ever believe that bullshit.

And after we made fun of the men from the previous night, our eyes would begin to close and we'd fall asleep side by side, with dried-up masks on our faces. Being an early riser, I would get up first and let Jaehee rest longer, with the quilt pulled all the way up over her head, as I boiled instant pollack stew or ramen, and when it was ready Jaehee would finally get up at the smell and eat the breakfast with sides of soured kimchi and cold rice. At some point, Jaehee's room had an extra set of my hair wax and a Gillette razor, while my room had a double of Jaehee's eyebrow pencil and MAC powder compact. Jaehee didn't know this, but when I was alone, I used her liner to fill in the gaps in my eyebrows and helped myself to her compact to half-heartedly apply a puff or two of concealer on my cheeks and forehead. Which made me wonder if Jaehee used my razor on her legs or armpits without telling me.

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Excerpted from Love in the Big City © 2021 Sang Young Park. All rights reserved. English translation © 2021 by Anton Hur. Original title: Daedoshiaeh Sarangbeop. Original Korean edition published by Changbi Publishers, Inc. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.

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