Saturday 15 May 2021

Book Review: Love in the Big City by Park Sang-Young (Contemporary Fiction / LGBT)

Title: Love in the Big City
Author: Park Sang-Young
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: 9 November 2021
eBook - PDF
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / LGBT
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Love in the Big City is the English-language debut of Sang Young Park, one of Korea's most exciting young writers. A runaway bestseller, the novel hit the top five lists of all the major bookstores and went into nine printings. Both award-winning for its unique literary voice and perspective, and particularly resonant with young readers, it has been a phenomenon in Korea and is poised to capture a worldwide readership. 

Love in the Big City is an energetic, joyful, and moving novel that depicts both the glittering nighttime world of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning-after. Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars where they push away their anxieties about their love lives, families, and money with rounds of soju and ice-cold Marlboro Reds that they keep in their freezer. Yet over time, even Jaehee leaves Young to settle down, leaving him alone to care for his ailing mother and to find companionship in his relationships with a series of men, including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life.


Love in the Big City was a thoughtful and fun read that explored themes of loneliness and relationships. Young was an engaging character and I enjoyed following his story throughout as he made mistakes and learned to live with them. There was a strong sense of realism to his relationships; meanwhile, Park Sang-Young's writing came across well in a nicely flowing translation. I had expected more from the ending, which is my only minor complaint. I don't know if a sequel is planned, but the way this book concluded left things a little too up in the air for my liking. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a book that looks joyfully at romance while not flinching away from some harsh realities of life, you will want to check out Love in the Big City.


I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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