A suspense novel about power, corruption and scandal in South Korea, based on real-life events
Seoul, South Korea
Sae met her husband in a riot. As student protesters in the eighties, they railed against the corporations that led South Korea out of post-war depression. Now, with two children, her hard-hitting journalism behind her, she waits for Jae to come home from work. And waits.
That was the day the tower fell.
As Sae joins crowds of mourners demonstrating at the site, the company responsible for the criminally unsound engineering - Daehan Corp - walks free. Hundreds of lives are still buried in the rubble; and with them, Sae soon realises, are secrets. Jae - sweet, dependable Jae - was keeping something from her.
Determined to get justice, Sae takes a job as biographer to Daehan's Chairman. His career spans the country's rise to superpower, but his family shows the strain of sacrifice. Even as Sae resists the Chairman's seductive version of history, she surrenders her sons to her new obsession.
For Sae has a plan. She will expose the Chairman who enslaved a country to his greed. She will find out why Jae was in the tower that day. But the deeper she digs, the closer she gets to a dangerous design. One that will rock the story of her life, and bring it crashing down around her.
A blazing portrait of South Korea and a novel of heart-stopping suspense, A Buried Life asks how truth can be proved in a climate of oppression, whether family can be sacrificed to progress and who writes our history.
Hannah Michell was born in Yorkshire in 1983 and grew up in Seoul, South Korea. She studied Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, then received an MA in Creative Writing from City University. She has worked for the Economist, Penguin Books and now lectures on Korean pop culture at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first novel, The Defections, was published in 2014.