The Private Life of Plants is about the ways in which desire can both worsen and mitigate our flaws. We meet amputee sons whose mothers cart them from brothel to brothel; we meet brothers who love their brother’s lovers, and whose lovers in turn are stolen away by the husbands of their sisters. Sexuality in all its ugliness and wonder is put under the microscope by Lee Seung-U, who reminds us that love may come in various forms, but that it is, nonetheless, a force that unifies us all … whether we like it or not.
“Lee has created a fantastical, mythical love story. His romantic images stand as challenges to both tragedy and nihilism … An Asian Romeo and Juliet, a great novel that revives the mythical dimension of love by its rich and powerful images” —Le Figaro
Lee Seung-U was born in 1959. He is a professor of Korean Literature at Chosun University. His novel The Reverse Side of Life was a finalist for the Prix Femina in 2002, and is available in English translation. J.M. Clezio has remarked that Lee is Korea’s strongest candidate for the Nobel Prize.