The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Eerie yet fantastical dive into dystopian world

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Jan. 13, 2024 - 17:01

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"A Town of Sewn Eyes" by Cho Ye-eun (Jaeum & Moeum Publishing)

"A Town of Sewn Eyes" (a literal translation of the Korean title)

By Cho Ye-eun

Jaeum & Moeum Publishing

Known for her creepy yet imaginative novels, Cho Ye-eun takes a compelling plunge into the realm of dystopian fiction with her latest book, "A Town of Sewn Eyes."

The collection of three interconnected short stories paints a fantastical picture of a grotesque world grappling with an apocalypse.

In the year 2066, 80 percent of the polar ice has melted, causing a rise in sea levels that leads to the inundation of cities, wiping nations off the map.

In the wake of countless deaths and the exodus of refugees, a "curse plague" emerges, leading to people sprouting third arms, second heads, or fifth eyes.

Those fortunate enough to escape the disease build a haven, a bunker known as the "Town."

While the Town appears to be an impenetrable ark, the plague inevitably arises within.

The first story follows the protagonist, Lee Gyo, after the loss of his friend, Ram, banished from Town for sprouting a second mouth on the back of his neck. Lee Gyo has a secret -- a third eye on his back. But because the eyes are so small that they look like wrinkles, Lee could avoid being exiled.

The second story revolves around Lee’s uncle, Baek Woo, before Ram’s banishment. Baek is the gatekeeper responsible for expelling “the cursed” from Town.

The final story unfolds outside the Town, following the exiled Ram.