Old Wrestler – Jeon Sungtae

Old Wrestler tells the story of a retired wrestler. The wrestler goes back to Korea, to the small island where he was born. He is a hero on the island because he has brought fame and also a much-needed bridge to it. He wants to see the island and he is curious if it has changed while he was in Japan.


Old Wrestler is now far away from his famous days. Because he was a wrestler, he has brain damage, and he doesn’t have a sense of smell. He doesn’t remember certain things or people, and he is afraid of his memory.

Old Wrestler - Jeon Sungtae

Strangely, this old wrestler reminded me of my late grandfather and dragged me into a strange melancholy. I enjoyed it dearly, and I hope you’ll check it out as well. Enjoy!

He understood the doctor’s warning. There was no treatment that could reverse the damage done to his brain. All they could do was slow the inevitable. On top of the image of his old brain hardening, he saw another of the brain tissue turning black.

Old Wrestler, Jeon Sungtae

Old Wrestler

A retired wrestler struggles with amnesia and anxiety after he is invited to return to his home town for an event. Back in once-familiar surroundings, he wrestles to make sense of things as he is confronted by faces, scenes and smells recalled from a celebrated past.
New from Strangers Press, the people who brought you Keshiki, comes their next exciting global collaboration Yeoyu new writing from Korea, a series of eight exquisitely designed chapbooks showcasing some of the best writers writing in Korean today, translated by a team of hugely talented expert translators from across the globe. The series features work from famous names such as Han Kang alongside relative newcomers to an English audience and was selected in collaboration with translation trailblazer and Man Booker International Prize winner, Deborah Smith.

Jeon Sungtae

Jeon Sungtae is a South Korean writer. South Korea’s 1980s was a time when university students were on the frontlines of political activism, which later contribute to the growth of various civil movements.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Yeoyu – New Voices from Korea

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