An Observer Picture Book of the Year
A Read for Empathy Collection Choice, chosen by EmpathyLab
A cinematic journey through the Seoul subway that masterfully portrays the many unique lives we travel alongside whenever we take the train. A poetic translation of the bestselling Korean picture book.
Accompanied by the constant, rumbling ba-dum ba-dum of its passage through the city, the subway has stories to tell. Between sunrise and sunset, it welcomes and farewells people, and holds them — along with their joys, hopes, fears, and memories — in its embrace.
Originally published in Korean and brought to English-speaking audiences with the help of renowned translator Deborah Smith (The Vegetarian), I Am the Subway vividly reflects the shared humanity that can be found in crowded metropolitan cities.
? ‘[S]ensitive, closely observed portraits.’ —Publishers Weekly
? ‘A contemplative, poignant rendering of everyday journeys.’ —Kirkus Reviews
? ‘[B]eautiful and unusual.’ —Youth Services Book Review
? ‘Bewitching.’ —Foreword Reviews
? ‘A poetic tribute to Seoul and its people, I Am the Subway makes for an unforgettable journey.’ —BookPage
‘In this beautiful and unusual book, first-person narration by a subway tells us all about the regulars who ride its cars in busy Seoul each day. The free-verse passages by the empathetic transportation system have a rhythmic style that recalls the rocking of the cars. Meanwhile, its regular riders each get a short passage to tell their own stories…This book perfectly encapsulates the wonder of crowds; how what looks like a seething mass (on what we learn is one of the world’s largest underground systems), is made up of individuals with unique and touching stories.’
Susan Harari, Youth Services Book Review starred review
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‘In this picture book, a subway train shares intimate stories while ferrying passengers around Seoul … Watercolour washes establish figures and shapes at once suggestive and formalistic; artful lines and gradations detail features, facial expressions, and hairstyles, defining unique human beings amid a sea of anonymity … A contemplative, poignant rendering of everyday journeys.’
Kirkus Reviews, starred review