Welcome To the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop: A book review by Janhavi Battalwar
Young Writers Series
When we sit down to read, we expect fuubutsushi throughout, characters who have sophrosyne, and frissons by the time we are done with the book. Books offer a sense of completion and serendipity every time you read, but sometimes, books talk about worlds we cannot visit and events we cannot experience. This is why we either feel addicted to reading 24/7 or give up completely.
Although there is a genre, realistic fiction feels like our world and still provides the satisfaction of reading. So, after all this time, I have found a piece of realistic fiction that feels like a hug from your sibling on their wedding day, Welcome to the Hyunam Dong Bookshop.
When a woman leaves her whole life behind and goes to a different place to start a new one, what happens? Does she find her people and place or does she continue as an outcast?
After a divorce she blames herself for, Yeongju [the main character] shifts to a new neighbourhood. In hopes of finding new friends and a place where she fits, she opens her bookshop. Soon enough she has regulars and all of them like her; beautiful flowers, but a little wilted. The bookshop becomes their refuge and everyone each other’s therapist. As the conversations between them flourish, everyone finds a place to return to and people to vent to.
The list of this unusual set of friends goes such:
Minjun: The café barista who is trying to find his path.
Jimi: A coffee roaster who needs help to break free of her marriage.
Seungwoo: An author who looks at life like a wise old man, but somewhere needs a hand to hold in his life.
Jungsuh: A girl in her late twenties trying to find peace in life before resuming work.
All the members of this squad have vivid and vibrant personalities that could easily clash, but one thing holds them together; the bookshop. In the arms of hundreds of books, they sit and talk like kids, whine like toddlers, learn about life like students and find friends like treasure hunters.
As the story proceeds, the characters heal from their past, and learn that letting go doesn’t mean forgetting and that the future need not be fretted over all the time.
The writing style fascinates the readers as the characters seem like real people and events like the very complex lives, we all live. This book leaves a sense of sonder and wonder behind it and makes us think.
More than a storyline, this is a book of relations, emotions, and the infinite hearts that are broken and built each day. So, if I were to rate this book, I would say it was a 10/10 read. Hope you will be able to savour the book, too.
Janhavi Battalwar is a twelve-year-old budding author/blogger. She picked up her first book at the age of seven and is still going strong. Besides being an avid reader, her pen has wielded numerous poems, short stories, and book reviews. She has a blog dedicated to her writing which goes by the name of J’s musings. Janhavi lives with her parents in Mumbai, India, and is currently being homeschooled. In her free time, she enjoys playing her guitar and searching for new music to listen to. Her dream is to share the stories in her heart with the world.