The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Past, present intersect at ‘The Bookstore of Illusion’

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : March 31, 2023 - 09:00

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“The Bookstore of Illusion” by So Seo-rim (Happy Books To You) “The Bookstore of Illusion” by So Seo-rim (Happy Books To You)

“The Bookstore of Illusion” (working title)

By So Seo-rim

Happy Books To You

In So Seo-rim’s debut novel “The Bookstore of Illusion,” a mystical world is introduced where a mysterious bookstore can only be found by those who are lost. Here, there is no need to buy a book, plus the owner offers stories to listen to.

After a rejection from a publisher while pursuing her dream of becoming an author, Yeon-seo climbs up a mountain to clear her head. Lost in her thoughts, she stumbles upon a peculiarly dressed man near a cliff who guides her to the enigmatic bookstore.

The stories that the owner recounts fall somewhere between old fables and twisted fairy tales. They are eerie yet heartwarming, with subtle hints that suggest that the tales may be based on true events from the owner’s life. As the book progresses, the characters interconnect and the mysteries begin to unravel. Yeon-seo begins to wonder if she has a connection with the owner from the past.

The author skillfully weaves a fantasy-mystery-romance storyline with traditional Korean elements, such as a flowery bier and “jeoseungsaja,” or grim reaper, enchanting the readers with its world-building.

“The Bookstore of Illusion” was initially released as an audiobook on Millie’s Library, one of South Korea's largest e-book subscription platforms, in 2022. The story quickly garnered favorable reviews from listeners and shot to the top of the bestseller list. It was then turned into an e-book, and is now published in print, which includes exclusive episodes.