The Korean smash hit available for the first time in English, a slice-of-life novel for readers of Matt Haig's The Midnight Library and Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry.
Yeongju is burned out. With her high-flying career, demanding marriage, and busy life in Seoul, she knows she should feel successful, but all she feels is drained. Yet an abandoned dream nags at her, and in a leap of faith, she leaves her old life behind. Quitting her job and divorcing her husband, Yeongju moves to a small residential neighborhood outside the city, where she opens the Hyunam-dong Bookshop.
For the first few months, all Yeongju does is cry, deterring visitors. But the long hours in the shop give her time to mull over what makes a good bookseller and store, and as she starts to read hungrily, host author events, and develop her own bookselling philosophy, she begins to ease into her new setting. Surrounded by friends, writers, and the books that connect them all, she finds her new story as the Hyunam-dong Bookshop transforms into an inviting space for lost souls to rest, heal, and remember that it's never too late to scrap the plot and start again.
Hwang Bo-reum has authored several essay collections: I Read Every Day, I Tried Kickboxing for the First Time, and This Distance Is Perfect. Welcome to Hyunam-dong Bookshop is her first full-length novel. Before its release as a paperback, the novel was initially published as an ebook after winning an open contest co-organized by Korean content-publishing platform "Brunch." She lives in Seoul.
Shanna Tan is a Singaporean translator working from Korean, Chinese, and Japanese into English. She was selected for two emerging translator mentorships in 2022, where she was mentored by Anton Hur for Korean prose and Julia Sanches for Singapore literature (from Chinese). Her prose translations have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Common, Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture, and others. She lives in Singapore.
“This buoyant, charming novel celebrates books as a source of growth and connection, and as a gentle antidote to the pressures of modern life. Hwang Bo-reum has created a quirky comfort read that invites readers into the heart of this sweet bookstore . . . a delightful place to be!” —Matthew Sullivan, author of MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE
“Already a bestseller in Korea, this quiet debut novel poses big questions about what it means to be successful and lead a fulfilling life. A worthy entry into the ever-growing constellation of fiction about the power of books, reading, and community.” —Booklist
“The prolonged philosophical considerations of reading, community, happiness, and the meaning of work offer moments of reflection and observation. Bo-Reum pleasantly evokes the feeling of spending an afternoon in a favorite bookstore.” —Publishers Weekly
“A snapshot of life in a quiet corner of Seoul examines how reading can help give voice to emotions, worries, and dreams.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A story that embraces its sentimentality.” —The Observer
“Delightful, reflective and heart-warming . . . we challenge you not to fall in love with it.” —Woman's Weekly
“A real love letter to reading . . . wonderful.” —Good Housekeeping
“If I were to gift a book to my loved ones, it'll be this one. I think it helps me convey the thoughts that I was not able to articulate back then.” —Reader, transl. from Korean
“I read the book when I was completely burnt out and it was like therapy.” —Reader, transl. from Korean
“During the whole time, and even after finishing the novel, I felt like I was enveloped in a warm fuzzy feeling and that was comforting.” —Reader, transl. from Korean
“I thought it was a real place . . . But the neighborhood doesn't exist. No such bookshop. You can't imagine my disappointment.” —OhmyNews, transl. from Korean