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The Love to Come : Ten Love Stories in the Dystopian EraJeong Hye-youn

No matter how we live, we have to know and understand what we have lost - sorrow and pain, death, and more. Therefore, it is important to gauge the situation correctly. In the summer of 2020, we suffered both the coronavirus pandemic and climate crisis. Our love, our future, our human potential will be built on the words “coronavirus” and “climate crisis” for quite some time to come (p. 13).

『The Love to Come : Ten Love Stories in the Dystopian Era』

Author : Jeong Hye-youn
Publisher : Hugo
Publication date : December 5, 2020
Number of pages : 296
Format : 132x204mm
ISBN : 9791186602577

Jeong Hye-youn

Radio producer. She received the Korean Producer Award for the documentary Behind The Suicide Rate. The documentary Anxiety, a special documentary on the second-year anniversary of the Sewol ferry disaster, The Palace at 4 a. m., The Gift of Those Left Behind, Korean War Criminals: Their Seventy-Five Years of Solitude and other works won the Korea Broadcasting Prizes for Best Radio Documentary Program. Her books include His Sorrows and Joys, A Pleasant Surprise, Anyway, Notes and more.

New Circumstances Require New Love Stories


2020 will be remembered as a time of extraordinary confusion in human history. The coronavirus, first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, spread all over the world in less than three months. Borders were closed, and we were all locked in our homes. In the summer, Earth was boiling over. A record-long monsoon season of 57 days, massive wildfires and heat waves around the world killed thousands of people and animals. We stand in the face of unprecedented “change.”

If change is inevitable, how can we enter a new life and new world in the right way? The author tells us that before change, we need to know and understand what we have lost – sorrow and pain, death and more. How can we keep life intact if such experiences of death have no effect on us? The coronavirus and the climate crisis will soon interfere with almost every human problem: jobs, food, life, death and more. Our future and our human potential will be built on the words “coronavirus” and “climate crisis” for quite some time to come.

Both of these dangers stem from a flawed connection between humans and the ecosystem. We need to address more fundamental, more vital changes than wearing masks to prevent droplet transmission or reusing plastics. This is the only way to prevent imminent climate disaster or reoccurence of infectious diseases such as “COVID-21.”

The author, a producer of radio programs on current affairs, has been covering the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in depth since its beginning. But her book cites more literary works than the facts obtained through her investigation. This is because “literature always helps us be ‘aware’ of what is going on” and because of “that chain reaction we are able to get a better read on life.” We always have a hard time getting an accurate reading of the situation, scrambling to get through the moment. Its significance appears only after a while. And now is that moment.

The author borrows the form of The Decameron to tell ten love stories. Margaret Atwood’s The MaddAddam Trilogy, a “saga in the era of global warming.” Luis Sepúlveda’s The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, depicting the unforgettable fate of an ocelot. Michel Houellebecq’s Serotonin: A Novel, which revealed cruel factory farming and the reality of genetically engineered plants. John Berger’s story of pure but fleeting moments feeling the warmth of working together in the midst of solitary labor. The story of Vavilov and his colleagues who protected plant seeds from Hitler’s troops. All ten stories show us how the individual and society are connected, how humans and animals are wrongly connected, and at the same time, they make us “aware” of what kind of change we need now. The author says, “In this time of great disconnection – never before imagined – something good has to come out of the fractures. And that depends on us. The moment we think we are powerless, stupidity blooms and bad things happen.”

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