See That Beauty
A Book Review by Madeleine Keiser
This book is about a young French-Korean women living in her hometown of Sokcho, South Korea. She works at a local inn, cooking and doing housekeeping. During one of Sokcho's harsh winters when rarely any visitors come, a french cartoonist arrives to stay at the inn. He hopes to find artistic inspiration from the town, and so she begins to accompany him on his tours of the area. While she's getting to know this new man, she also deals with her aging mother, distant boyfriend, and her own destructive thoughts. I enjoyed this book mainly because of how beautiful the language is. It draws you in with very strong imagery of the town of Sokcho. Both main characters see the town as beautiful, and you see that beauty with them. The women sees what she thinks is the true nature of Sokcho. The fish markets, neon signs, food, and everything she has grown up knowing. On the other hand the French man sees a natural beauty in the town, from the eyes of an outsider. He sees the beaches and snow covered mountains that surround Sokcho. I would recommend this book to an older teenage audience. As a a warning, it does deal with subjects such like eating disorders, and has heavy sexual scenes. This book is perfect for people who enjoy being consumed by books, and reading them frantically in the span of a couple hours. It's a very short read, and the narrator's thoughts can feel like a constant spiral, which gets you caught up with her. The obsession with her body and the cartoonist become all-consuming at points, and makes the book impossible to put down. I gave this book a 4.5/5 because I can't bring myself to give any book a 5 unless after reading it I just know it's my new favorite. If you read this book, and find yourself looking up "books like Winter in Sokcho" like I know you will, here are two beautiful books I found to have similar themes of obsession: Death in her hands by Otessa Moshfeh and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.
Reviewer: Madeleine Keiser, 12th grade
Title: Winter in Sokcho
Author: Elisa Shua Dusapin
Published in: 2016
Length: 160 pgs