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The Prisoner

A sweeping account of modern Korean history told through one writer's imprisonmentin time, in language, and in a divided countryfrom Koreas most acclaimed novelist.

In 1993, writer and democracy activist Hwang Sok-yong was sentenced to five years in the Seoul Detention Center upon his return to South Korea from North Korea, the country he had fled with his family as a child at the start of the Korean War. Already a dissident writer well-known for his part in the democracy movement of the 1980s, Hwangs imprisonment forced him to consider the many prisons to which he was subjectof thought, of writing, of Cold War nations, of the heart. In this capacious memoir, Hwang's life is set against the volatile political backdrop of modern Korea, a country subject to colonialism, Cold War division, a devastating war, decades of authoritarian dictatorships, a mass democratic uprising, and a still-lingering, painful division between North and South. The Prisoner moves between Hwang's imprisonment and scenes from his lifeas a boy in Pyongyang and Seoul, as a young activist protesting South Koreas military dictatorships, as a soldier in the Vietnam War, as a dissident writer first traveling abroadand in so doing, braids his extraordinary life into the dramatic revolutions and transformations of Korean society during the twentieth century.

The Prisoner is written by Hwang Sok-yong and translated into English by Anton Hur.

Author: Anton Hur
Publisher: Verso (UK) | Penguin Random House (US)
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