The Korea Herald


[Latest Read] Park So-young takes readers to ‘Snowglobe’ where privacy is new currency

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : April 1, 2024 - 16:02

    • Link copied

Set in a dystopian world where fame and popularity have become the most crucial means of survival, the first installment of the gripping young adult duology “Snowglobe” by Park So-young recently hit bookshelves worldwide.

The English edition translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort, and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, made the New York Times Young Adult bestseller list in the third week of March. The novel is slated for release in over 10 languages, including French, German and Italian.

Park So-young (Changbi Publishers) Park So-young (Changbi Publishers)

In wintry thriller, only the elite enjoy warmth

Enclosed in a vast dome, Snowglobe stands as the last place on Earth that’s warm. Outside is a frozen wasteland where citizens toil at the power plant, providing the energy Snowglobe needs. Their only solace is a 24-hour television reality show streamed from the domed city.

The residents of Snowglobe have everything: fame, fortune and safety from the bone-chilling temperatures. In exchange, their lives are broadcast to the outside world, where hopefuls wait for an opportunity to get inside the dome.

“In a word, privacy has become the new currency,” said Park in an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul in March.

“When I first envisioned this story, vlogging was just beginning to emerge, and now we find ourselves in a world where being famous and popular has become very important. The story reflects our society, and I have pushed it into a much more extreme, brutal version.”

Park observed that not only celebrities but also ordinary individuals began streaming their daily lives, becoming influencers and YouTubers.

“We are constantly comparing our lives to those of strangers. And I wanted to delve into why it’s important to keep our identity amid all that -- to love ourselves as we are, and how we could do that.”

Korean edition (left) and English edition of Korean edition (left) and English edition of "Snowglobe" (Changbi Publishers, Delacorte Press)

The narrative follows Cho-bahm, 16, who seizes the opportunity to enter Snowglobe when its biggest star Hae-ri is found dead, and steps into the city unaware of its chilling secrets.

In a departure from conventional YA tropes, Cho-bahm is driven not solely by righteousness, but by her ambitions and desires.

Park said she wanted to depict her heroine as inherently human.

“Ordinary people are naturally swayed by temptation. So I wanted to portray a humane character. Her excuse is not simply because she is young or doesn't know what's going on in the world, but because she pursues her desires.”

Having majored in media in college and with a brief stint as a reporter, Park said that her background in media naturally led her to explore this theme.

“If there is such a thing as truth, the truth must be one, but I’ve seen that it becomes a completely different story depending on which perspective you look at it from, especially these days where there is an overflow of information.”

The author added that more of the topic is explored in the second volume.

Park So-young (Changbi Publishers) Park So-young (Changbi Publishers)

"I had always wanted to become a novelist," said Park, reflecting on her career change. "I thought if I was going to put so much work into writing an article, why not put the effort into something I would really want?"

Park's debut novel "Snowglobe" won the first Young Adult Novel Award organized by Changbi Publishers and Kakao Page in 2020. The second volume of the duology is currently being translated and set for release next year. Also, CJ Entertainment has optioned the novel for screen adaptations.

Park continues exploring a dystopian future in her second and latest novel “A Day of Your Existence,” released in September 2023.

In this dystopia, environmental destruction and food scarcity lead seven individuals to share a single body. In this “Bodymates” system, each person takes over the body on a designated day, spending the remaining six days in a virtual reality called "Paradise."

Park is working on her next novel which incorporates occult elements, Korean shamanism and folklore. The book is scheduled to be published in Korean next year.


In this series, The Korea Herald introduces Korean literature through translated works, offering interviews with authors or translators as well as reviews, inviting readers to explore the vibrant literary landscape of Korea. -- Ed.



written by Park So-young, translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort

Delacorte Press

February 2024 (UK, US)