Woon-Yeoung Cheon’s haunting novel Farewell, Circus takes us into the rarely portrayed underworld of foreign picture brides in South Korea.
When Inho, a mute man of modest means, is unable to find a wife, his mother contacts an international marriage agency and tasks his brother, Yunho, the only person who can understand Inho’s mangled speech, to help him. Together they interview ethnic Korean women living in China who are seeking the precious visa that will enable them to move to South Korea. Eager to weed out those who might take advantage of his brother, Yunho stages an interrogation. But when he discovers his growing feelings for his new sister-in-law, Haehwa, he becomes trapped in a deep silence of his own. Meanwhile, deeply reticent Haewha has her own secrets and desires.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Yunho and Haewha, Farewell, Circus crosses borders and seas to dramatize the silence that lies inside people living between cultures and in a world of rapidly changing histories, identities and demographies.
Born and educated in Seoul, South Korea, Woon-Yeoung Cheon (born 1971) is the award-winning author of four novels and two volumes of short stories. Farewell, Circus is her first work to be translated and published in English.