A meditative dance of generations, The End of August is a semi-autobiographical investigation into nationhood and family – what you are born into and what is imposed. Yu Miri’s distinct prose, rhythmically translated by Morgan Giles, explores the minutiae of generational trauma, shedding light on the postwar migration of Koreans to Japan.
In 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea, Lee Woo-Cheol was a running prodigy and contender for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. But he would have had to run under the Japanese flag.
A century later, his granddaughter is living in Japan and training to run a marathon herself. With the help of powerful Korean shamans, she summons the spirit of Lee Woo-Cheol only to be immersed in the memories of her family and their neighbour, a young teen who was tricked into becoming a comfort woman for Japanese soldiers.