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When a Rooster Crows at Night
ISBN 0-595-30876-7

By Therese Park
Review by: Zénó Vernyik

12/01/04

When a Rooster Crows at Night provides a unique look on the Korean War. And I mean that. First of all, it is seen through the eyes of a young girl, a source of information that is far from the usual omnipotent narrator of war fiction. It is striking to see how the perception of war becomes more and more complex and also critical as the girl becomes older and gets to know more.

It also succeeds in avoiding a heroic and pathetic presentation, and any other kind of partisanship or one-sidedness. The presentation is always critical, and the text employs a large amount of self-irony.

The language is fluent and poetical, missing any sense of wordiness: sentences seem just natural whether in dialogue or in descriptions. The text is wonderfully coherent and well-structured, and also one that is enjoyable to read. Strangely, it is still not one of those books that one falls in love with at first sight. It rather comes gradually, as time passes and one starts to think about it and reconceptualize what she read. Because of this, however, it is a volume that is strengthened by re-readings and not softened: with each and every new reading, new meanings and internal relationships emerge.

This book surely is one of those that deserve a lot of effort on the reader’s side, and much enthusiasm. Deserve, but does not require: Ms Park’s text can be read casually, as well. It is entertaining and rewarding if read for the adventure only. But there is a good deal more to it than that.

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