This is a smallish novel by the South Korean writer Hwang Sok-yong. This book follows too different and seemingly unconnected (surprise, you spend the whole novel looking for that connection) narrators. The first is Park Minwoo, a divorced architect near the end of his career (in his 60s) when at a lecture he is given a note from an old friend in his old neighborhood looking to reconnect with him. He emails her, and begins a small correspondence. Through this correspondence he also reads her journals and mini-biography that she sends him that talks about their shared experiences, a small romance, the neighborhood her left, and the unstable political situation during the dictatorship in the 1980s.
The other narrative voice involves a woman in her late 20s first working in a convenience store while also pursuing a career in writing for the theater. We are unsure of her connection to the other narrative except that she is friends with a young man who has the first name as the older man. We learn more about their friendship as they get to know each other better.
The novel is about one’s past, and past relationships and the ways in which our choices do impact others, even when they might be small, and it’s about the passage of time. The novel is relatively small in scope and very close-guarded. I found myself waiting and waiting for another shoe to drop throughout because there was clearly some kind of reveal coming down the pike as the two narrative voices got closer and closer.