Kim Hyo-eun’s I Am the Subway

h1 July 6th, 2021 by jules


I’ve a review over at BookPage of Kim Hyo-eun’s beguiling I Am the Subway (Scribble, August 2021), orginally published in South Korea in 2016 and translated by Deborah Smith.

The review is here, and below are some spreads.



“I travel over the ground and rumble under, twice across the wide Han River.
Around I go, around and around. Crowds of people wait to climb aboard.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Sneakers that like to splash through muddy puddles, black shoes that hurry to the office every morning, new shoes saved for a special day, battered cast-offs re-heeled and patched — I can tell so much about a person just from looking at their shoes.
All kinds find their way to my door — shoes that have traveled near and far.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Do-young offers his arm to Yeon-woo, the little boy sliding around. Yeon-woo hides his face and Do-young gives him a gentle smile. ba-dum, ba-dum ba-du-bum, ba-dum”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“Oh my travels I meet so many people and things: an old lady telling stories in the market amid the noise of buying and selling; the scent of fried chicken, crispy and hot, shared by a dad and his son as a special treat …”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“… a gentle afternoon light that washes over everything —
old shoes, new shoes, clean and dull shoes.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

I AM THE SUBWAY. Text and illustrations copyright © Kim Hyo-eun, 2016. Translation copyright © Deborah Smith, 2020. Originally published in Korean, 2016. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Scribble.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact Thanks.