Fiction – Novels, Novellas, Short Stories

Anna Kim
Die große Heimkehr

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2017 Anna Kim: Die große Heimkehr © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2017The meteoric rise of the expression “post-factual” might lead one to believe that there had never been a twentieth century. No wartime lies, re-education camps or propaganda ministries (…). Anna Kim‘s novel Die große Heimkehr (The Great Homecoming) teaches a double history lesson. Kim succeeds in telling a grippingly narrated and comprehensively presented introduction to Korea’s history, a subject of propaganda battles. The author, who was born in Korea in 1977, emigrated with her family in 1979, first to Germany and then to Austria. (…)
In 1959/60, the years described in the novel, Kim Il-Sung had established a communist monarchy, while in the south, President Rhee, who enjoyed American protection, tried to hold onto his dwindling power by electoral fraud and the terror of his paramilitary “Northwest Youth Association.”
Anna Kim describes an atmosphere of corruption and arbitrary violence, mistrust, denunciation and loyalty achieved in those years by means of blackmail, when the regime in Pyongyang attempted to seduce Koreans, particularly wealthy Koreans in Japanese exile, to a “great homecoming” to the purported workers’ paradise in the north. In order to make it possible to grasp the specific and general material for which there is historiographical evidence, she provides literary authentication through a fictional story about friendship and love, betrayal and self-deception – and thus also about the credibility of (auto)biographical narrative.

Ulrich Baron: „Heiße Herzen, Kalter Krieg“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30 January 2017

Anna Kim
Die große Heimkehr
Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2017
ISBN 9783518425459
558 pages

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