Format Hardcover
Publication Date 08/07/18
ISBN 9781681777870
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.4 in / 336

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The Court Dancer

A Novel

Kyung-Sook Shin

Set during the dramatic final years of the Korean Empire, the new novel from Man Asian Literary Prize winner Kyung-Sook Shin features a mysterious dancer caught up in the dizzying sweep of history. 

Based on a remarkable true story, the New York Times bestselling author of Please Look After Mom brilliantly images the life of Yi Jin, an orphan who would fall under the affections of the Empress and become a jewel in the late Joseon Court. When a novice French diplomat arrives for an audience with the Emperor, he is enraptured by the Joseon Dynasty’s magnificent culture, then at its zenith. But all fades away when he sees Yi Jin perform the delicate traditional Dance of the Spring Oriole. Though well aware that women of the court belong to the palace, the young diplomat confesses his love to the Emperor, and gains permission for Yi Jin to accompany him back to France. A world away in Belle Epoque Paris, Yi Jin lives a free, independent life, away from the gilded cage of the court, and begins translating and publishing Joseon literature into French with another Korean student. But even in this new world, great sorrow awaits her. Yi Jin’s grieving and suffering is only amplified by homesickness and a longing for her oldest friend. But her homecoming was not a happy one. Betrayal, jealousy, and intrigue abound, culminating with the tragic assassination of the last Joseon empress—and the poisoned pages of a book. Rich with historic detail and filled with luminous characters, Korea’s most beloved novelist brings a lost era to life in a story that will resonate long after the final page. 

Kyung-Sook Shin is one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. She is the author of I’ll Be Right There and Please Look After Mom, which was a New York Times bestseller and a Man Asian Literary Prize winner.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“A gorgeous epic that seamlessly combines history and fiction to create a hybrid masterpiece. The court dancer’s latest journey west should command substantial, eager audiences.” Booklist (starred)
“Kyung-sook Shin’s work often inhabits the space between story and reality. A haunting, remarkable novel.” NPR, "Best Book of the Year" [praise for 'The Girl who Wrote Loneliness']
“Shin writes about a time and setting that may seem remote to many Americans, but in many ways her specificity is universal; we all have a monster that has no face, and which we try to avoid. Shin paints her own monster for us.” The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Pick [praise for 'The Girl who Wrote Loneliness']
“Profound. While South Korea is but a whisper of its former self, Shin’s writing grabs hold of those memories and brings them loudly to the surface.” The Economist [praise for 'The Girl who Wrote Loneliness']