The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Finding solace through the second-hand market

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Feb. 12, 2024 - 09:01

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"The Second Hand Market Angel" by Her Tae-yeon (Noll/Dasan Books)

"The Second Hand Market Angel"

By Her Tae-yeon

Noll/Dasan Books

In the upscale neighborhood of Hannam-dong, a unique morning ritual unfolds on a second-hand market app, showcasing an array of new items that are difficult to come by at a good price.

From imported luxury curtains straight from Spain to limited-edition designer bags, the platform becomes a marketplace for Sun Ye-hwi, a woman of wealth who appears to revel in a life of opulence.

Sun's life had taken a tragic turn a decade ago when her son fell into a coma following a car accident. The aftermath left her grappling with severe depression, gradually eroding her mental well-being. In a quest for healing, she discovers solace in an unexpected place -- the second-hand market app.

Using the app as a means to connect with previously unknown neighbors, each harboring their own unique life stories, Sun embarks on a journey of emotional recovery. Through these transactions, she not only mends her emotional wounds, but also forges friendships and solidarity within her community.

Despite encountering threats from those seeking to exploit her, and even facing life-threatening fraudulent schemes, Sun remains resilient. Her act of uploading goods onto the second-hand market becomes a therapeutic outlet, a way to heal the emotional scars that haunt her.

This is the latest novel by Her Tae-Yeon, whose best-selling "Hakuda Photo Atelier" recently secured a screen adaptation contract. The story follows 25-year-old Je-bi, who abruptly sets off to Jeju Island while working at a photo studio.

Her made her library debut with "The Man Who Dances Flamenco," a novel that follows an elderly retiree fulfilling his bucket list.