The novel Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 written by Cho Nam-joo was selected as one of "The 100 must-read books of 2020" by the U.S. weekly magazine Time. The book is a full-length novel by Cho Nam-joo and was published in October 2016. The novel is accusing Korean society women of discrimination and inequality through the life of Kim Ji-young, a 34-year-old career-interrupted woman. The novel shows the universal lives of women in Korean society by presenting various statistics and materials of the period through her life.
Kim Ji-young, in her mid-30s symbolizes an ordinary Korean woman. She was born in Seoul in 1982 and got married at the age of 31, giving birth to and raising a daughter. She works at a public relations agency. In this novel, the author describes the elements of gender discrimination in a tight manner, showing how invisible discrimination in the era of reduced institutional gender discrimination constrains and oppresses women's lives. The New York Times said, "The novel which caused a sensation when it was published in 2016 in South Korea tells the story of a typical Korean woman with a character who is a young wife and mother and her plight reveals the impact of a sexist society."
The novel is also about the actual reality of gender equality in Korean society. So, Jamie Chang, Professor at Ewha Womans University, who translated the novel, said that it became a bestseller as it reminds many young women of the implicitly forced roles and the threat of death triggered by angry misogynists. Also, she said that “This anger is all the more heartbreaking because it is an act that toppled Ji-young after a lifetime of sex discrimination. Because it's so small and so big, and sadly too common."
The English version of Kim Ji-young Born in 1982 was first published in the United States in April, 2020. At that time, The New York Times introduced the novel, saying "The main character, Kim Ji-young, is so ordinary. That's the point.” In France, the French translation version, which was released in January, was included in the 10th edition of Emil Gimme's Asian Literature Award. Japanese and Chinese versions are also gaining popularity in Asian bookstores, sweeping the best-seller charts. (Related content on Page 7)