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ALMOND

Won-pyung Sohn

  • Original Title: ALMOND
  • Publication date: December 2017
  • Publisher: CHANGBI, Korea
  • Country: KR
  • 80 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: South Korea
  • Themes: FAMILY, Intergenerational, Filiation, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Death, Resilience, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Solidarity, Friendship

Pitch

The story of a boy born with alexithymia, a condition where a person can't identify with or feel emotions. Through motherly and grandmotherly love, practice, and persistence, he learns how to become more humane. But one day he loses his family to a shocking act of violence.

Comments

Translation rights sold: World English, World Spanish, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hebrew, France, Italy, Catalonia, China

Winner of the Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction
Over 200,000 copies sold in Korea.

Debut novel, An emotionless teenaged boy meets a hotheaded troublemaker and learns to connect with humanity through their unlikely friendship, pitched as reminiscent to CATCHER IN RYE and EAST OF EDEN and described as "THE EMISSARY crossed with THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.”

Won-pyung Sohn is a Korean film director, screenwriter, and novelist. Her movie script “I believe in the moment” won the Science Fantasy Writers’ Award in 2006. Her next full-length novel, BORN IN 1988, won the Jeju 4.3 Peace Literary Award.

Summary

ALMOND speaks to a time when we are so bombarded with social media and information that feeling numb is the norm. This coming-of-age story is about a boy without emotions but who, nonetheless, through motherly and grandmotherly love, practice, diligence and persistence, learns how to become ever so humane with more guts and bravery than we could imagine. A boy born with a condition where he cannot feel emotions, Yunjae has trouble feeling them because of his naturally small amygdalae, also called the almonds. He cannot even feel fear or anger. He is cared for by his young single mother who has struggled financially but is making a go of it by opening her own second hand bookstore, and his steely strong grandmother, who has accepted her wayward daughter and baby despite past arguments and is as devoted and loving as any grandmother could be. Grandmother and mother drill into him pointers for socially appropriate responses such as laughing when others do so and saying, “Thank you” when others do. They leave post-it notes everywhere to remind him of what normal human responses are and how to act. They just want him to fit in and be accepted. They worry about how he will manage in the world. But, thanks to their devoted love, he manages to grow without causing much trouble. But on his sixteenth birthday, Christmas Eve, he loses them to a shocking, random act of violence...

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  • Author’s biography

    Won-pyung Sohn (born 1979) is a Korean film director, screenwriter, and novelist. She earned a BA in social studies and philosophy at Sogang University and learned film directing at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. She won the Film Review Award of the 6th Cine21 in 2001. Her movie script “I believe in the moment” won the Science Fantasy Writers’ Award in 2006. She also wrote and directed a number of short films. She made her literary debut in 2017 when her first full-length novel ALMOND won the Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction. Her next full-length novel, BORN IN 1988, won the Jeju 4.3 Peace Literary Award.