Seoul. On the outskirts of South Korea's glittering metropolis is a place few people know about- a vast landfill site called Flower Island. Populated by those driven from the city by poverty, is it here that 14-year-old Bugeye and his mother arrive, following his father's internment in a 're-education camp' . As Bugeye and his mother settle in to living among the strange folk of Flower Island, they build themselves a shack and begin earning a living weeding recyclables out of the vast piles of refuse brought in daily from the city. But then Bugeye begins to notice mysterious lights around the landfill at night - and as spring comes to the garbage mountain, a danger that has lain dormant begins to surface. Vibrant and enchanting, Familiar Things depicts a society on the edge of dizzying economic and social change, and is a haunting reminder to us all to be careful of what we throw away.
Hwang Sok-yong was born in 1943 and is arguably Korea's most renowned author. In 1993, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for an unauthorized trip to the North to promote exchange between artists in North and South Korea. Five years later, he was released on a special pardon by the new president. The recipient of Korea's highest literary prizes and shortlisted for the Prix Femina Etranger, his novels and shorts stories are published in North and South Korea, Japan, China, France, Germany, and the United States. Previous novels include The Ancient Garden, The Story of Mister Han, The Guest, and The Shadow of Arms.