This collection of eight stories—cynical and sympathetic by turns—represents the author’s attempt to document and understand the conflicts, resentments, hatreds, and anxieties of contemporary family life. The title story depicts a mother’s busy day playing numerous roles—ashamed, fearless, or humble—depending on which member of her family she’s tending to. In “The Privacy of My Father,” a daughter tracks her father to Hong Kong in order to spy on what she thinks is an illicit affair. All in all, says Seo Hajin, family means deception—but these masks aren’t so easily removed.
Seo Hajin was born in 1961 in Youngcheon, North Kyungsang Province. She studied Korean literature at Kyunghee University in Seoul, Korea, and is currently a assistant professor of Korean Literature at the same school.