K-Drama Adaptation Of Bestselling Korean Romance Novel “Love In The Big City” Is A Step In The Right Direction For Queer Representation

K-Drama Adaptation of the Bestselling Korean Novel "love in the big city" it's a step in the right direction for queer representation

Tilted Axis Press / Park SangYoung’s Instagram

The Korean entertainment industry is progressing by leaps and bounds, and it shows. In recent years, the growth and popularity of Korean BL dramas around the world has resulted in increased queer visibility and representation in mainstream South Korean media. Now, to take this development a step further, we’re getting a K-Drama adaptation of one of the most profound, meaningful and revolutionary queer romances to come out of the country: “Love In The Big City” by Park SangYoung.

For those of you who may not know, “Love In The Big City” is a multi-award winning bestselling romance that has achieved wide critical acclaim as well as the love of readers around the world. It was translated into English in 2021 by renowned translator anton hur and was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022. The novel is divided into four novellas – “Jaehee”, “A Bite of Rockfish, Taste the Universe”, “Love in the Big City”, and “Late Rainy Season Vacation” – each telling different but interconnected stories about our protagonist and the people around him.

K-Drama Adaptation of the Bestselling Korean Novel "love in the big city" it's a step in the right direction for queer representation

Changbi editors

“Love In The Big City” follows Young, an HIV-positive young man who navigates life, love and loneliness under the looming gaze of the eponymous big city. For the characters in the story, the big city offers refuge and anonymity, but also isolation, especially for the queer community. Still, the novel brings vivid stories of youth, family and human relationships, love found and love lost, all with a bright splash of color and humor as we follow Young on his quest for happiness. Young’s experiences are universally resonant, thanks to Park SangYoung’s talent for extraordinary storytelling and his addictive and engaging writing style. Once you pick up this book, you won’t be able to put it down.

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In addition to romance, the novel also tackles issues such as intergenerational conflict, cultural hegemony, queer erasure, religion, and (non)conformity. It also serves to destigmatize HIV, especially with Young calling him “Kylie” after the author’s favorite artist Park SangYoung Kylie Minogue. In essence, “Love In The Big City” is a response to the media’s objectification of the queer community and the attempt to narrowly define queer narratives by limiting tropes and labels. So the fact that this book is getting a dramatic adaptation is not only good news for fans, but also a huge step in the right direction for the representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in South Korean media.

According to information released so far, the author Park SangYoung will be directly involved in the production of the script, and the directors Huh JinHo, Hong Ji Yeong, Son Tae Gyum, It is kim sein will be responsible for adapting eight episodes. The novel does not have a linear form, so it will be interesting to see how our directors translate it to the screen, while preserving its originality. The drama will be released through an OTT platform in 2024.

While waiting, you can read “Love In The Big City” in English, which we highly recommend. You can get the book in English here. For the Korean copy, click here.

Are you excited for “Love In The Big City”? Share your thoughts with Kpopmap in the comments section below!

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