2021 new arrival Our outlet sale Happy online Time online

2021 new arrival Our outlet sale Happy online Time online

2021 new arrival Our outlet sale Happy online Time online
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With over a million copies sold in South Korea, this is a gripping and passionate death row love story for fans of Please Look After Mother, vividly told by a major Korean talent.

Yu-Jung – beautiful, wealthy, bright – is lying in her hospital bed, recovering from her third suicide attempt, when she receives a visit that will change her life. Her no-nonsense aunt, a nun, appears by her side, and suggests Yu-Jung might accompany her on a charitable visit to death row. At her lowest ebb, Yu-Jung is resistant. But something compels her to go to the prison. There she meets Yun-Soo, a convicted murderer who will soon be put to death. And, though repulsed by his crimes, something about the depth of his suffering strikes a chord in her. Shaken by their encounter, she returns to visit him the next week. And the next...

Through their weekly, hour-long meetings Yu-Jung and Yun-Soo slowly reveal to each other the dark secrets of their pasts, the hidden traumas that have shaped their lives. In doing so they form a deep, unbreakable bond, helping one another to overcome their demons. But Yun-Soo’s hands are always in cuffs, the prison-officers are always in the back­ground, and they can never lose sight of the fact that their happy time together is tragically brief.

Poetic and vividly told, Our Happy Time is a passionate and heart-breaking love story. It is also an important, hard-hitting and compassionate fable for our times – a story about crime, punishment, and forgiveness from a major Korean talent.

From Booklist

Two flawed individuals form an unlikely bond in this story of love and forgiveness set in South Korea. Yunsu suffered dreadful abuse and neglect as a young child, became schooled in the criminal arts as an adolescent, and ended up a convicted murderer on death row. Yujeong had a privileged childhood, studied art in Paris, and became a college professor. But a traumatic event when she was 15 led her to try to take her own life repeatedly. After her third suicide attempt, Yujeong has the choice of being hospitalized or helping her beloved Aunt Monica, a nun, and she takes the latter option, accompanying her aging aunt to meetings with death-row prisoners. First-person chapters alternately reveal the backstories of the two primary characters up to the trauma that damaged Yujeong and the crimes that led to Yunsu’s capture as their weekly meetings open their hearts to greater understanding and the possibility of forgiving. The first of Gong’s novels to be published in English, this is a moving story with a religious bent and a strong view on capital punishment. --Michele Leber

About the Author

Gong Ji-young is one of Korea’s most beloved and critically acclaimed novelists. She has sold over 10 million books in South Korea alone. Her awards include the 2011 Yisand Literary Award, the 21st Century Literary Award, Korean Novel Prize, Special Media Award and Amnesty Interna­tional for Our Happy Time. This is Gong’s first novel to be translated into English. Her books are published in China, Thailand and Japan.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Our Happy Time
Harlem is there by way of a divine indictment against New York City and the people who live downtown and make their money downtown. The brothels of Harlem, and all its prostitution, and its dope rings, and all the rest are the mirror of the polite divorces and the manifold cultured adulteries of Park Avenue: they are God’s commentary on the whole of our society.

– Thomas Merton

BLUE NOTE 1


I am going to tell you a story. It is a story of murder. It is a story of a family that was only capable of destruction, where screaming and yelling and whippings and chaos and curses were their daily bread. And it is a story of a miserable being who used to believe he couldn’t possibly be miserable—this is my story. The day it all began, two women and a teenager died. I was convinced that one of those women had no right to live, that she deserved to die. I thought that for her to have so much money all to herself was like dressing vermin in fine silk. I thought that if I, in this unfair and unjust world, could use that money for something good instead, I would be doing the right thing.

And there was another woman. She was a woman who had never had anything of her own in her whole life. A woman who had everything taken away from her by others—that woman was dying. If only I’d had three million won, I could have saved her. But at the time, I had no way of getting that much money. With each day that passed, she was closer to death, and though I did not know if there really was a heaven or how long it had been since I last looked to it, I assumed heaven would understand me, and that this was justice. Justice.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
22 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Miura
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
우리의 행복한 시간 by 공지영
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2015
I read the manga adaptation first 1 or 2 years ago and I had really liked it. I read it again a month or two ago and decided to search for the English translation. And what do you know? There''s an English version! It''s published in 2014 which is the year I found it.... See more
I read the manga adaptation first 1 or 2 years ago and I had really liked it. I read it again a month or two ago and decided to search for the English translation. And what do you know? There''s an English version! It''s published in 2014 which is the year I found it.
It''s super different from the manga which I thought was really weird at first but the main points stayed consistent. Our Happy Time (or Hours) really brought me to my knees because I can relate; not to what happened to the main character, Yujeong (유정), but the relationship between Yujeong and her mother. I got a lot of feels while reading this book, especially at the end. Gong''s descriptions and the feelings she makes you feel hits the nail on the head and that''s what I love about it. It may not be true for everyone though. If you''ve been through depression or the like, this book is a must-read. It sort of healed my soul a little bit.
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Chevybow
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A decent book
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2016
This is honestly the first book that has ever brought me to tears. While the general story for this book is great- its potential is lost in the writing style and execution of the book. Since I am not korean I cannot say if that is due to a loss in style when the book got... See more
This is honestly the first book that has ever brought me to tears. While the general story for this book is great- its potential is lost in the writing style and execution of the book. Since I am not korean I cannot say if that is due to a loss in style when the book got translated- but I know that what I read was mediocre writing. Still, this book is definitely worth a read and worth picking up. Very emotional and heartwarming story. It suffers in its execution and brevity (I wish certain characters were more flushed out).
3 people found this helpful
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Rebecca T
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2014
Great book! Couldn''t stop reading.
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Maninder Johal
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Novel
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2016
I had watched the movie that was based off this book - "Maundy Thursday" - years ago and absolutely had to read this once I found it. The storyline is thoughtful and insightful, addressing issues such as poverty, suicide, and capital punishment. The writing appears... See more
I had watched the movie that was based off this book - "Maundy Thursday" - years ago and absolutely had to read this once I found it. The storyline is thoughtful and insightful, addressing issues such as poverty, suicide, and capital punishment. The writing appears quite simple, but that might be due to the fact that this is a translation. Overall, I recommend this book!
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Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gong Ji-young’s 2005 novel “Our Happy Time” tells a compelling story that grapples with a ...
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2015
Available in English translation for the first time, Gong Ji-young’s 2005 novel “Our Happy Time” tells a compelling story that grapples with a series of challenging themes; not least among them being crime and punishment, poverty and privilege, and love and forgiveness.... See more
Available in English translation for the first time, Gong Ji-young’s 2005 novel “Our Happy Time” tells a compelling story that grapples with a series of challenging themes; not least among them being crime and punishment, poverty and privilege, and love and forgiveness. Despite being a multi-award winning and multi-million selling author at home, the “Our Happy Time” translation by Sora Kim-Russell marks the most significant attempt so far to translate her work into English, although there are several translated short stories. Gong Ji-young is perhaps best known on the Korean scene as one of the most popular of the so called “new wave” female writers, credited with smashing the South Korean literary establishment’s glass ceiling in the 1980s and 1990s. Since her debut in 1988, her work has exhibited a strong fascination with political issues such as the labour movement, the underprivileged and the struggles faced by young women in a predominantly patriarchal society.
In its detailed depiction of capital punishment, “Our Happy Time” continues the author’s fascination with political and social issues. The novel’s narrator Yujeong, an insightful but damaged young woman with a privileged background, is recovering from a third suicide attempt at the beginning of the story. Visiting her in the hospital, Yujeong’s almost saint-like aunt, Sister Monica, persuades Yujeong to accompany her on visits to prisoners on death row. It is here that Yujeong meets death row inmate Yunsu and a most peculiar kind of relationship commences. The novel charts both the development of their relationship through their once a week meetings and, in a prison letter he writes from his cell, Yunsu’s traumatic upbringing on the margins of society. These two narrative perspectives are skilfully woven together in alternating chapters and give the novel a highly affecting emotional resonance. As the story moves towards its conclusion Gong Ji-young carefully peels back the layers to reveal the painful events that have both shaped Yujeong and Yunsu and brought them together.
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Lydia
4.0 out of 5 stars
Review of Our Happy Time
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2014
This has been the year of delicate, perfect, death-row stories for me. Stories that gripped me and held tight, even when I was crying angry tears and railing against the injustice of it all. OUR HAPPY TIME by Gong Ji-young is the perfect knitting together of the stories... See more
This has been the year of delicate, perfect, death-row stories for me. Stories that gripped me and held tight, even when I was crying angry tears and railing against the injustice of it all. OUR HAPPY TIME by Gong Ji-young is the perfect knitting together of the stories of two people who could not be more different: Yujeung and Yunsu. My initial impression is that both of these characters were young, but as the story develops it is revealed that they are, in fact, adults. The rich development and emotional tension of this book depends on that age, so don''t let initial impressions fool you.

OUR HAPPY TIME is told in two alternating narratives. Yunsu''s "Blue Notes" usually have a relevant quote at the start of them and, by contract, Yujeung''s journal is a bit more detached and shows a perspective that''s set a bit away from the emotion of the story. What connects both of their stories, however, is one of the best characters in the book, Yujeung''s Aunt Monica. Monica is a nun who has made it her mission to visit those on death-row and try to bring them to a place where they can make peace with their lives and those who are still in it.

Secrets and dark pasts are revealed, both in Yunsu and Yujeung''s lives - and even Monica and Yujeung''s family come into play. The differences between the rich and the poor are marginalized as two people who suffered from similar circumstances have to face life (and in Yunsu''s case, death) with a shrugging off of their burdens. I''m not going to lie, you will reach a point half-way in the story where hope steps in and you start to think, improbably, that your hope will be enough to change the course of events. Let me warn you, don''t let that hope overshadow what is happening in the story because I almost did and almost lost sight of what was really beautiful here.

OUR HAPPY TIME is a deceptive name for this book, I think. It fits, but not in the way you would think it would fit. I loved the look into life in South Korea and I always appreciate any book that makes me think, hard, on what I value in my life. It makes me realize just how privileged I am and how much I could be doing with that privilege, and it makes me want to learn more and teach more and love more.
2 people found this helpful
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Ionia FromentTop Contributor: Coloring
4.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful!
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2014
This is a beautifully written and very emotional novel. Upon beginning this book I hadn''t read the blurb (I avoid doing that a lot because I like the surprise,) and even without any idea of what to expect, this book piqued my interest right away and kept me turning... See more
This is a beautifully written and very emotional novel. Upon beginning this book I hadn''t read the blurb (I avoid doing that a lot because I like the surprise,) and even without any idea of what to expect, this book piqued my interest right away and kept me turning pages.

This is a very human story. It deals a lot with soul searching for the answers to our lives. The major themes throughout this story range from forgiveness to acceptance, mistakes and lessons learned and centres on an unlikely friendship. Paths cross in this novel that one would not expect and relationships are built, lost and tested.

I loved that this book didn''t follow the expected "everyone is happy" theme that seems so prevalent in recent novels. The author examined alternate ways of doing things and that made this book very memorable.

I strongly recommend this book to those who enjoy thought provoking novels where the characters grow throughout the story.

4.5 stars. An excellent read.
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J. Henges
3.0 out of 5 stars
Grim times
Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2014
Hsppytimr?This book grabs you by the throat and keeps squeezing. -keeps you reading and hurting.
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Top reviews from other countries

May
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 20, 2017
Poignant, and raw. Makes one speechless, and deep in thought after reading.
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Jenny
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Our happy time
Reviewed in Germany on May 10, 2021
The first time I read a book completely in english. The topic was kinda hard, but very interesting, heartbreaking, warm and totally emotional. The story behind these book makes me speechless and deep in thoughts after reading it. It was just a little bit too religious for...See more
The first time I read a book completely in english. The topic was kinda hard, but very interesting, heartbreaking, warm and totally emotional. The story behind these book makes me speechless and deep in thoughts after reading it. It was just a little bit too religious for me, it said too much about believing in God. It''s not a bad thing it is just my opinion.
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marcus.d.1922
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shockingly good! Hard to craft appropriate praise
Reviewed in Canada on April 15, 2018
"Our Happy Time," almost regardless of the great popularity that it has had in Korea, is a much under-rated novel. While it is chiché to say that it touches upon many eternal eternal themes, what is less cliché is to suggest that many profound responses to those...See more
"Our Happy Time," almost regardless of the great popularity that it has had in Korea, is a much under-rated novel. While it is chiché to say that it touches upon many eternal eternal themes, what is less cliché is to suggest that many profound responses to those eternal themes are provided. Further the author constantly provides a level of sensitivity that is refined, while crafting wording and thoughts in genuine aesthetically pleasing ways. The only criticism arises from the author''s edging close to melodrama, at times, but, honestly, she has developed characters who are feeling the emotions sincerely enough. I have avoided any specific references to characters and incidents because other reviews and summaries may provide those. Finally, I would just add, that perhaps the greatest indication of a masterful work is that he leaves you wishing that you could have the opportunity to converse with the author. Why? Because you feel that an appreciation of the same understandings/feelings exists, and for the duration of the conversation, a feeling of peace with the understandings would prevail. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon this author, and would recommend the novel to everyone. There is no distinct audience for "Our Happy Time." Readers everywhere should have the experience.
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