Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop: A Novel (Hardcover)
AN INDIE NEXT PICK * A Debutiful Most Anticipated Book of 2024 * Powell's Pick of the Month
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. She did everything she was supposed to: go to school, marry a decent man, get a respectable job. Then it all fell apart. In a leap of faith, Yeongju abandons her old life, quits her high-flying career, and follows her dream. She opens a bookshop. In a quaint neighborhood in Seoul, surrounded by books, Yeongju and her customers take refuge. From the lonely barista to the unhappily married coffee roaster-and the writer who sees something special in Yeongju-they all have disappointments in their past. The Hyunam-dong Bookshop becomes the place where they all learn how to truly live.
A heartwarming story about finding acceptance in your life and the healing power of books, Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop is a gentle reminder that it's never too late to scrap the plot and start again.
Hwang Bo-reum studied Computer Science and worked as a software engineer. She wrote several essay collections: I Read Every Day, I Tried Kickboxing for the First Time and This Distance is Perfect.
Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop is her first novel, which has sold over 150,000 copies in Korea and been sold into 9 territories. Before its release as a paperback, the novel was initially published as an e-book after winning an open contest co-organised by Korean content-publishing platform 'Brunch'.
Shanna Tan is a Singaporean translator working from Korean, Chinese and Japanese into English. She was selected for two emerging literary translator mentorships in 2022, where she was mentored by Anton Hur and Julia Sanches. Her prose translations have appeared in The Southern Review, The Common, Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture and more.
“A real love letter to reading . . . wonderful.” —Good Housekeeping
“I may have found my ideal bookshop book when I read Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop. What sets Hyunam-Dong apart is how much it reveals about getting a store up and running … By the end of Hyunam-Dong, [Yeongju] has encountered enough surprises to figure out that bookshops - and love - rarely go by the book.” —The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Already a run-away hit in its original Korean, this gentle, philosophical novel is a balm for book lovers, for the burnt-out, and for anyone seeking change or community. It reminded me of all the reasons bookstores are my favorite 'third-place' and also my favorite way to get to know a place.” —Powell's Books, February Pick of the Month
“This is a heartwarming story that everyone should read in their quiet moments.” —The New York Journal of Books
“A wonderfully cozy novel . . . It is wonderfully true-to-life and a very charming, intimate reading experience.” —Books & Bao, 24 Must-Read Korean Novels in English
“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
“The book reads like a well-thought, free-flowing conversation … I absolutely loved Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop. Something is life-affirming about the story and its characters that will stay with me, in my heart and thoughts. It is the kind of book that will feel new and exciting every time you read it.” —Fresh Fiction
“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 slice-of-life tale with appealing characters. Their stories explore aspects of Korean culture … the messages about happiness and not wasting time in unsuitable and meaningless endeavors are uplifting and provide a cozy read.” —BookPage
“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
“Hwang Bo-reum's graceful, meditative debut novel, translated by Shanna Tan, introduces readers to an engaging cast of lost souls seeking answers to the central questions of their lives: What does it mean to live a contented life in a competitive culture? And can we achieve contentment if our decisions make others unhappy? … A meditation on bookstores and the communities they foster, as well as an aspirational story of finding purpose when you think you might be ready to give up.” —Shelf Awareness
“A snapshot of life in a quiet corner of Seoul examines how reading can help give voice to emotions, worries, and dreams.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[This] debut novel is a comfortable book about books … Bound to be a book club favorite.” —Library Journal
“Ever have a dream where you chuck your life and start over as the owner of a small bookstore? Of course you have. Live out that fantasy with this hit Korean novel available in English for the first time. This will be great when you really need a feel-good read.” —Goodreads Editors
“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