Yi Hyo-Sok’s “The Buckwheat Season” doesn’t impress me as much as it seems to impress Koreans. It is a pretty slow and predictable (SPOILER ALERT) story of a father and son reunion.
But Koreans like it (my Senior likes it and it has been translated into English three times that I know of) and so it must be of some importance to Koreans. I find myself among the category that Jeong-Hyun Shin identifies as believing that the Buckwheat Season” is so weak that to some readers it may seem to lack sufficient motifs and conflicts.”
That alone hurts me to admit, since Shin seldom makes sense me.
Shin then goes on to compound his sense and sensibility by noting that the narrator is:
loyal to his love, his donkey, and his fellow vendor, Hue is also loyal to nature. He will never forget the mountain passes, rivers, moonlight, and buckwheat fields; he will forever plod along the buckwheat road viewing the moon in the sky.
This moment of clarity is, of course, drenched in a surrounding bath of anti-Japanese vitriol as well as some rather alarming racial posturing about the “essence” of being Korean. Still, it makes a rather nice Korean Sisyphus and armed with that approach, the story is a much better one.
Which is all prelude to the simple notice that the story is available, for free…