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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

At Night He Lifts Weights

by (author) Kang Young-Sook

translated by Janet Hong

Transit Books
Initial publish date
Nov 2023
Short Stories (single author)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2023
    List Price

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A disquieting vision of ecological dystopia in a collection by a major Korean writer.


An artist is plagued by desire for her mysterious double as disease spreads through an uncanny suburban landscape. An elderly woman suspects the old man who lifts weights in her neighborhood playground of being responsible for a spate of murders. While elsewhere, a woman who believes she’s been exposed to radioactive radiation inherits a warehouse where those fleeing the city can store their possessions.


Beneath the calm surface of the stories collected here, Kang Young-sook offers a disquieting vision of a society grappling with ecological catastrophe and unplaceable forms of loss.


About the authors

Contributor Notes

Kang Young-sook is the author of four novels, including the award-winning Rina, and five short story collections. She often writes about the female grotesque, delving into varying genres as urban noir, fantasy, and ecofiction. She was most recently a resident at the National Centre for Writing, and currently teaches creative writing at Ewha Womans University and Korea National University of Arts.


Editorial Reviews

"This powerful collection strikingly depicts alienation, catastrophic loss, and disaster in ravaged landscapes....Young-sook’s perceptive stories provide an unwavering and honest gaze at human nature."Publishers Weekly

"Much as the title of this collection evokes a kind of physical exertion, so too do the stories within hum with a visceral quality. Sometimes, that quality works to turn the bizarre into something familiar; at others, it magnifies the extraordinary and often disconcerting experiences of these stories’ protagonists."—Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders

"Perceptive and subversive, the stories in At Night He Lifts Weights vary in tone and genre, but each is singularly captivating, swirling around themes of loss — ecological destruction, loneliness, and death. Each has a subtle illusion of calm that conceals what lies below in the unnerving depths."—Pierce Alquist, Book Riot

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