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Booker International Shortlist 2023: Whale by Cheon Myeong-Kwan


Whale by Cheon Myeong-Kwan

Could this leviathan be our winner?


Why it Could Win:.This is the longest book on the shortlist and it has a lot of scope, covering a large period of time and incorporating myth and modern day.

Why it Might Not Win: There is a lot going on and not all of it necessary to the story.


Why it Could Win: It’s epic, the storytelling is fantastic and there’s nothing else quite like it on this years’ list.

Why it Might Not Win:  I would have needed a LOT more knowledge of Korean history to appreciate the satire in this one – I think I’m probably missing a lot, just through lack of context – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.


Why it Could Win: This is a clever take on Korean fairytales, and is also a satirical look at Korean society.

Why it Might Not Win:  It’s sexist and the satire can be misunderstood.

What do you think is this the winner?

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