An energetic, joyful, and moving novel that depicts both the glittering night-time world of Seoul, and the bleary-eyed morning after. Translated by Anton Hur.

Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars, where they suppress their anxieties about their love lives, families and money with rounds of soju and freezer-chilled Marlboro Reds.

In time, even Jaehee settles down, leaving Young alone to care for his ailing mother and find companionship in his relationships with a series of men - including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life.


The 2022 International Booker Prize
Published by
Tilted Axis Press
Publication date

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Sang Young Park

Sang Young Park

About the Author

Sang Young Park was longlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022. He born in 1988 and studied French at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.
More about Sang Young Park
Anton Hur

Anton Hur

About the Translator

Anton Hur was born in Sweden in 1981 and raised in Hong Kong, Ethiopia and Thailand - but mostly in Korea, where he has lived for 30 years.
More about Anton Hur

Sang Young Park on Love in the Big City

‘I wanted Love in the Big City to contain all the emotions of love that I was familiar with and the book to be a kind of general reader on the subject of love.The first scene that came to mind was a mother and son sitting on the grass at Olympic Park in Seoul. This scene enabled me to start what would become the book Love in the Big City.’

Read the full interview here.

What the judges said

Love in the Big City is disarmingly confessional but never sentimental, even while sifting through the desolation of human existence.’

What the critics said

Bobby Finger, The New York Times Book Review

‘Watching Young drift in and out of such love, always finding something valuable, even life-altering, to hold onto, is one of the book’s most notable pleasures […] In Park’s hands, Young is loud and obnoxious, insufferable and magnetic, messy and wise. The prose, translated by Anton Hur, reads like an iPhone screen, vibrant and addictive. What a joy it is to see such a profound exploration of contemporary queer life — its traumas and its ecstasies throbbing in harmony.’

Katie Goh, The Skinny

‘On this messy and moving journey, Park weaves in social and political commentary, from LGBTQ+ rights and abortion access, to class dynamics and gender roles in contemporary Seoul […] Anton Hur’s gorgeous translation captures the wit and bite of Park’s voice, which cuts through the novel’s romantic tenor like a blade. A runaway bestseller in South Korea, Love in the Big City is destined to be a global, queer cult classic. This is a bold, sparkling novel that encompasses what it feels like to be young and in love with life itself, surrounded by strangers and yet completely, wrenchingly alone.’

Terry Hong, Booklist

‘Self-described queer Korean translator Hur empathically delivers Park’s affecting English-language debut to Western audiences. A best-seller in Korea for being a significant (and rare!) gay novel, Park’s lost-love(s) narrative is also a universal literary beacon for readers of all backgrounds.’


‘The novel skips freely around in time, lending it a sense of propulsion and instability that feels entirely intentional. It’s anchored, however, by the narrator’s irresistible voice, which alternates between earnest, heartfelt emotion and likable wryness.’

Publishers Weekly

‘The strength of the narrator, notably his flexibility of voice and expansiveness, carries the narrative to great heights, making this a standout among queer literature. Brilliant, glowing, and fun, Hur’s translation succeeds in bringing Park’s effervescent voice to English-reading audiences.’

Other nominated books by Anton Hur

Cursed Bunny