Shoko's Smile by Choi Eunyoung

Choi's Shoko's Smile is an exercise in living and dying in restraint. A collection of stories that magnifies the slough of existing in a world—our world—that is neither caring nor hurtful. The world, in fact, is a neutral ground, and it is the humans inside it, who are the players of love, hate, stubbornness, and kindness. We are all actors in a play called Samsāra which is what I believe Choi is bringing across with every word on the page. And perhaps in a bid to escape this cycle of living and dying, Choi's words are precise. Her intentions in the storytelling are conscientious, not for reasoning or sublimation.

As Choi would say through her story's protagonist, Soyu, "The moment untalented people clutch at the mirage of dreams, it slowly eats away their lives."