The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel (Paperback)
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December 2013 Indie Next List
“You will not soon forget the impact of this modern Korean fable. The values of hope, determination, faithfulness, and sacrifice are exemplified by the hen named Sprout. She hopes for freedom and motherhood and finds much more in the world beyond her cage. This English translation of the bestselling book, illustrated charmingly throughout, will become a classic.”
— staff, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO
The Korean Charlotte's Web
More than 2 million copies sold
This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command, only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild—and to hatch an egg of her own.
An anthem for freedom, individuality and motherhood featuring a plucky, spirited heroine who rebels against the tradition-bound world of the barnyard, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a novel of universal resonance that also opens a window on Korea, where it has captivated millions of readers. And with its array of animal characters—the hen, the duck, the rooster, the dog, the weasel—it calls to mind such classics in English as Animal Farm and Charlotte’s Web.
Featuring specially-commissioned illustrations, this first English-language edition of Sun-mi Hwang’s fable for our times beautifully captures the journey of an unforgettable character in world literature.
About the Author
Sun-mi Hwang is a beloved writer in South Korea, where she has won many awards and published more than forty books enjoyed by adults and children alike. Born in 1963, she was uanble to attend middle school due to poverty, but thanks to a teacher who gave her a key to a classroom, she could go to the school and read books whenever she wanted. She enrolled in high school by taking a certificate examination, and she graduated from the creative writing departments at Seoul Institute of the Arts and Gwangju University, and from the graduate school of Chung-Ang University. She lives in Seoul, South Korea.
Upon its publication in 2000, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly became an instant classic, remaining on bestseller lists for ten years and inspiring the highest-grossing animated film in Korean history. It has also been adapted into a comic book, a play, and a musical, and has been translated into over a dozen languages.
Los Angeles Times bestseller
New Atlantic Indie bestseller
Mountains and Plains Indie bestseller
Southern California Indie bestseller
“A very special little book. I absolutely loved it, and I find myself still thinking about Sprout. She embodies all the best characteristics of deep-hearted mother-love: loyalty, sacrifice, and courage.” —Lisa See, author of the New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls
“Sometimes the simplest character, expressed in the sparest prose, embarks upon life’s most heroic journey. Meet Sprout, a plucky hen whose modest dream to hatch a single egg will take her down a path that leads to her true place in the natural world. Heart, determination, and empathy are the only skills Sprout needs to navigate this perilous passage in Sun-mi Hwang’s lovely The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, a novel uniquely poised at the nexus of fable, philosophy, children’s literature, and nature writing.” —Adam Johnson, author of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner The Orphan Master’s Son and the National Book Award winner Fortune Smiles
“The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly breaks down the boundaries between the animal and the human and takes us on the intensely personal journey of a lonely hen whose simple, fierce desires guide her to surprising places. This entertaining and plaintive tale is South Korea’s Charlotte’s Web for youth and adults alike.” —Krys Lee, author of Drifting House
“Everything wonderful about the world is contained in this small gem of a novel, which brims with dream-fulfilling adventures and the longing that underlies love.” —Kyung-sook Shin, author of the New York Times bestseller Please Look After Mom
“It has the plain language of a folktale but also its power of dark suggestion.” —NPR.org, “The Best Books Coming Out This Week”
“Bewitching . . . a fabular bestseller told from the point of view of a homeless hen, which will make grown men and women cry.” —The Independent, “Books of the Year”
“A note-perfect masterstroke of a novella . . . that belongs on a bookshelf somewhere between the innocent frivolity of Charlotte’s Web and subliminal politics of Animal Farm . . . Sublime.” —Toronto Star
“Beautifully and simply written . . . Sprout [is] one of the most likable protagonists of the year. With her defiance of the rules, curiosity and tireless efforts, Sprout stays with and inspires the reader long after the slim story is finished.” —Bookreporter
“Perfect to read in a single sitting, although the story’s loving spirit is sure to linger. It’s also the ideal gift to share with anyone and everyone who holds a place in your heart.” —BookDragon
“An allegorical crossover hit.” —The Bookseller, “Books of the Year”
“Poignant . . . Themes of love, sacrifice, parenthood and belonging are explored through the simple but moving story.” —Audrey Magazine
“[A] simply told but absorbing fable . . . Spare but evocative line drawings . . . add to the subtle charm.” —Publishers Weekly
“An adroit allegory about life . . . in the vein of classics like Charlotte’s Web and Jonathan Livingston Seagull . . . A subtle morality tale that will appeal to readers of all ages.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Recalling Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), this slim but powerful tale will resonate with readers of all ages, who can take it at face value or delve deeper into its meditations on living courageously and facing mortality. . . . The English translation moves smoothly and straightforwardly and is aided by graceful black-and-white illustrations.” —Booklist