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Dreams of the Downtrodden: Tragicomic Miss Teletubby by Kang Young-sook


Tragicomic Miss Teletubby is Kang Young-sook’s seventh published book and third novel; it is another excellent example of the author’s hardboiled point of view of the anxiety present in everyday city life. In this work Kang depicts the romance of a man named Dong-seok, manager of the Korean branch of a multinational electronics company, and a 16-year-old girl named Hana, who carries a Teletubby doll everywhere. These two are not an ordinary couple, however, but locked in a material relationship based on money that is doomed to fail from the beginning. While their relationship may look like a destructive coupling of the upper and lower classes of the urban society they live in, there is too much to it to be dismissed as an unethical, antisocial crime. On the surface level Dong-seok and Hana are unquestionably engaged in underage prostitution, but between the two of them they create a private space that is invisible from the viewpoint of society. Needless to say, this relationship is not a sustainable one. It can only end in disaster, but rather than investigate the knotty ethics of this relationship the author chooses to focus on Hana’s coping mechanism, namely her desire to write.



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