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Yoon’s work, whether in novels or short fiction, tends to create miniature mysteries, but his latest is all unanswered questions and old regrets. In the opener, “Bosun,” a life of crime leads to one of life’s crossroads for an ex-con working at a Canadian casino. Cold war politics provide the backdrop but not the drama in “Komarov,” which finds a North Korean maid who’s lived in Europe for years traveling to Russia circa 1980 to reunite with the son she left behind, now a professional fighter. Yoon’s interest in history also extends further back in two stories. The first, “At the Post Station,” is set in 1608 and follows a feudal samurai on a diplomatic mission, while “The Hive and the Honey” is an epistolary ghost story in the form of a letter from a solider to his uncle written on the steppes of Eastern Russia in 1881. Most of the stories are little more than fleeting moments in the lives of the Korean diaspora, such as “Cromer,” in which the children of North Korean defectors find their domestic happiness in London interrupted by a strange boy. There’s a pervasive atmosphere of loneliness and forced solitude as reunions go awry and destinies lay unfulfilled, but there’s also the steely stubbornness of people who have no choice but to keep going. These feelings are palpable in the final two stories, starting with “Person of Korea,” in which a 16-year-old boy is orphaned by the death of his uncle and sets off for a remote island where he hopes to be reunited with his father, a guard who works at the prison where the boy’s grandfather was once confined. Finally, “Valley of the Moon” chronicles the life of a man whose trespasses against others eventually translate into violence against his children.


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