Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Mariner (Sep. 28, 2010)
A foreign film importer, Gi-yeong is a family man with a wife and daughter. An aficionado of Heineken, soccer, and sushi, he is also a North Korean spy who has been living among his enemies for twenty-one years.
Suddenly he receives a mysterious email, a directive seemingly from the home office. He has one day to return to headquarters. He hasn’t heard from anyone in over ten years. Why is he being called back now? Is this message really from Pyongyang? Is he returning to receive new orders or to be executed for a lack of diligence? Has someone in the South discovered his secret identity? Is this a trap?
Spanning the course of one day, Your Republic Is Calling You is an emotionally taut, psychologically astute, haunting novel that reveals the depth of one particularly gripping family secret and the way in which we sometimes never really know the people we love. Confronting moral questions on small and large scales, it mines the political and cultural transformations that have transformed South Korea since the 1980s. A lament for the fate of a certain kind of man and a certain kind of manhood, it is ultimately a searing study of the long and insidious effects of dividing a nation in two.
"What a ride! Young-ha Kim is clearly a writer to watch out for. Your Republic Is Calling Youpromises to be the breakout book from Korea. Through his compelling narration of events happening in a single day, he leads us into the heart and soul of modern Korea and tells us and what it means to be human in a world bristling with borders. I cannot praise it enough." —Vikas Swarup, author of Slumdog Millionaire
"Fueled by paranoia, Your Republic Is Calling You pulls you along like a thriller, yet Kim is after more than suspense. A keenly observant writer, he turns his story into an amusingly bleak X-ray of present-day South Korea that’s as interested in Bart Simpson as in Kim Jong Il. Along the way, we meet a huge array of sharply drawn social types" NPR Fresh Air
"[An] ambitious novel from one of Korea’s most admired writers . . . Energized by a powerful sense of the difficulty of ‘belonging’ in a dangerous place and time. Perhaps the most intriguing and accomplished Korean fiction yet to appear in English translation." – Kirkus Reviews
"Deeply compelling . . .a riveting tale of espionage along with keen observations of human behavior." – Publishers Weekly
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