Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Appointment with My Brother.

"An Appointment with My Brother" is another great novella by Yimun-Yol, author of "Our Twisted Hero." Again, Yimun-Yol blends political issues with personal stories to make a compelling read. In "An Appointment with My Brother," the author gives an account of an imagined meeting with his North Korean half brother. The author's father defected to North Korea in the early years of the regime, leaving his South Korean family for North Korean political ideology. As an adult, the narrator hires a "unification man" to bring his ailing father to China so he can see him one last time. The father dies before they can meet, so the author settles for a meeting with his younger half brother. The writing is saturated with sympathy and reverence for North Koreans. The conversation between the two brothers changes both of their ideas about the other's country. The North Korean brother admits to his South Korean brother toward the end that he had hated him most of his life. Because of the North Korean government's distrust of well-educated defectors, his family was cursed with a low status and lost opportunities.
Yimun-Yol's method of slowly revealing cautious characters is a clever component in his books. I really like this author.

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