This was my second book of the Diverse-A-Thon, bought after I finished The Dog Who Dared to Dream a few weeks ago. It’s one I’d seen in bookshops for a while and never picked up (partly, I think, out of some misguided attempt to achieve a good book-to-pounds ratio when buying books in Waterstones) but I’m glad I finally picked it up. In terms of the Diverse-A-Thon; this is the third book by a South Korean author I’ve read in the past couple of months and the differences in style between these stories and western ones is really interesting. The social aspect, of respect and formality between acquaintances, shows through. As does the importance of strong values of motherhood and family that I think shines in both of the Sun-mi Hwang books I’ve now read.
I think I actually preferred this one to The Dog Who Dared to Dream. Maybe it’s slightly fresher in my mind, but I do think it topped it slightly.
In this story- another allegory or fable- a hen named Sprout dreams of hatching an egg. Her dream comes true thanks to being discarded from the coop, but not without tragedy on the way.
I think I liked this one slightly more because it felt like a story about standing your ground in the face of people who don’t accept you, but also about how family is more than just blood. Sprout doesn’t look like her hatchling, and they struggle to be accepted, but that doesn’t make their bond any lesser. It’s also a story of sacrifice and how the enemy may just be out for the same things you are.
I’m gutted that no more of Sun-mi Hwang’s novels seem to have been translated yet. They’re the kind of book I’d love to have a shelf of, to dip in to when I need something uplifting to read. But for now I’ll keep hoping.