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Table for One

Yun Ko Eun et al.

In contemporary South Korea, the nuclear family has given way to individual urban living. Yun Ko Eun sharply captures the dissonance of solitary life in a culture that prizes community and family. In an effort to navigate this 21st century conundrum, her narrator takes rigorous, highly structured classes to learn to eat alone in public. A sly, deeply sympathetic look at our increasingly isolated social world, “Table for One” transcends geographical boundaries to explore loneliness, community, and social awkwardness with grace and a wicked sense of humor.

Yun Ko Eun was born in Seoul in 1980. In 2004, the year she graduated from university, her short story “Piercing” won the Daesan Literary Award for College Students. In 2008 she received the Hankyorek Literature Award for her novel The Zero G Syndrome. In 2010 she published a collection of short stories in Korean, titled Table For One, and in 2011 her short story “The Sea Horse Flies” won the Yi Hyo-seok Literary Award.

Lizzie Buehler is a freelance Korean translator and editor at Asymptote, based in New York City. She grew up in Texas and studied comparative literature at Princeton University. Her translations of Yun Ko Eun and other writers are published or forthcoming in journals including Ploughshares, Korean Literature Now, and Litro.

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