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dd’s Umbrella

Hwang Jungeun, e.yaewon
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Tilted Axis Press
Published: February 8, 2024
ISBN: 9781911284949
256 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom


What was it they were battling? Their smallness, of course, their smallness.

d, a nonbinary gig worker living in Seoul, briefly escapes the grasp of isolation when they meet dd, only to be ensnared by grief when dd dies in a car accident. Meanwhile, the world around them reckons with the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster that left more than 300 dead.

As formally inventive as it is evocative, dd’s Umbrella is composed of twin novellas. The first is told from the perspective of d, and the second from the perspective of a writer researching a book they may never write. Both figures dwell in society’s margins––queer, working-class, and part of nontraditional family structures.

As people across Korea come together to protest the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry disaster, and to impeach the right-wing president in office, the novel examines how progressive movements coexist with social exclusion, particularly of women and sexual minorities, invisibilised in service of the ‘greater cause’.

dd’s Umbrella is a meditative and off-centre novel about mourning and revolution.

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