The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang

This story was translated from the original South Korean by Chi-Young Kim and I picked it up on a whim from Waterstones as it is part of their Waterstones Book Club selection for this month.

One thing that attracted me to this book was the illustrations done by Nomoco as they are so symbolic and whimsical; the images really suit the writing style and I think that they really enhanced the story.

The social commentary in this book was clear and, although I don’t really know much about South Korea, I could gather a lot of the themes and thoughts that were put into the story. In that way, I feel like it would be a great read if you enjoyed Animal Farm by George Orwell, as I did, because it has some similar themes and tackles some tough subjects in a way that makes it a lot more relateable, even if you aren’t overly knowledgeable on the country that is being talked about. I also think that a lot of the themes discussed are pretty universal so everyone will take something different from this story. The animals do have some very human qualities and didn’t seem completely ‘animal’ but I think that it really made me connect to the book more so it didn’t bother me at all.

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a beautiful story about oppositions: life and death, motherhood and abandonment, freedom and captivity, nature and nurture, togetherness and loneliness; all wrapped up in this gorgeous little book that can easily be devoured in one sitting.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to be made to think, anyone who likes to read a story that on the surface is quite simple but that underneath has great depth and meaning.

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