[Book review]—오두막 (The Shack)

Today I’m reviewing a translated Korean copy of a book originally written in English—William Paul Young’s “The Shack.”

I guess this book was somewhat of a big deal since it apparently has a film adaptation, which I didn’t know until after I started reading this. Actually, I didn’t know anything about this book before I started reading it. Someone gave it to me and said I should read it, so I figured that they recommended the book for a particular reason and went to it. When I asked them about it over 200 pages in, they said that there was no particular reason for lending me this book, just that they knew I like reading, haha… but by that point, I was already hellbent on finishing, so I powered through it.

Personal opinion

That said, this book is definitely not my cup of tea. It turns out that it’s the story of a man who goes to a shack in the woods to meet god after a tragic event in his life… and I’m not a religious person at all, so it didn’t really appeal much to me on that front. However, if you are about that, go for it! Just know that every page is dripping in religion before you open it if that’s something you do (or don’t) care about. Themes aside, I found the book very slow and uninteresting, with a lot of space taken up by these long conversations between god and this man. There was very little action outside of the tragedy at the beginning, and the rest of the book dragged, even the parts that were presumably supposed to be tense or exciting.

Is it good for learning Korean?

As for this book’s value for Korean learners looking for something to practice reading with—it’s actually fairly decent. The majority of the vocabulary was uncomplicated with not too much use of unusual descriptors and the like. The book is a bit long at a bit over 400 pages, but it was fairly easy for me to knock out 15~20 pages in a single sitting (provided I had the time) without my brain feeling overloaded.

Of course, if you want to get into reading Korean literature this is not for you! While reading this book, I could really feel the difference between this translated Canadian novel and the actual Korean books I have read. There was a lot more use of subject pronouns which felt a bit awkward since Korean omits them a lot (SO much “그는, 그녀가,” and so on), and just the structure of the book itself felt unusual after limiting myself to only Korean works for so long. I think I’ll have to read more English -> Korean translated books to see how they handle the language and structural differences. It’s interesting to see, so definitely give reading translated books a try if you feel so inclined! Maybe just not this one.