Translated from the original Korean by Jung Yewon
Communication–or the lack thereof–is the subject of this sly update of the picaresque. No One Writes Back is the story of a young man who leaves home with only his blind dog, an MP3 player, and a book, travelling aimlessly for three years, from motel to motel, meeting people on the road. Rather than learn the names of his fellow travellers–or invent nicknames for them–he assigns them numbers. There’s 239, for example, who once dreamed of being a poet, but who now only reads her poems to a friend in a coma; there’s 109, who rides trains endlessly because of a broken heart; and 32, who’s already decided to commit suicide. The narrator writes letters to these men and women in the hope that he can console them in their various miseries, as well as keep a record of his own experiences: “A letter is like a journal entry for me, except that it gets sent to other people.” No one writes back, of course, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some hope that one of them will, someday . . .
About the Author
Jang Eun-jin was born in Gwangju, Korea, in 1976, and graduated from the Department of Geography at Cheonnam National University. She made her literary debut with her receipt of the Joongang Daily New Writers Award, and has since published four novels and a collection of short stories.
About the Translator
Jung Yewon was born in Seoul, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 12. She received a BA in English from Brigham Young University, and an MA from from the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation at Hankuk University.