Magazine article World Literature Today

Mina

Magazine article World Literature Today

Mina

Article excerpt

Kim Sagwa Mina Trans. Bruce Fulton & Ju-Chan Fulton. San Francisco. Two Lines Press. 2018. 280 pages.

In Kim Sagwa's English-language debut, the pressures of being a teenage girl take two friends down a dark, twisted path within the competitive world of the moneyed Korean elite. Crystal and Mina are friends in P City, where they cram for school and receive tutoring to ensure they score highly enough to move on to good universities. Like friendships between many teenage girls, theirs is at once close and laced through with competition that can turn hostile.

Early in the novel, Crystal plays a game in which she chokes Mina almost to the point of passing out. It becomes difficult at times to determine just how close the girls truly are, and Crystal is inclined to push Mina away or seek her out as it suits her volatile mood. With little adult oversight beyond ensuring they are doing well in school, the girls are free to engage in any behavior they want, testing their own and each other's limits. …

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