Summer of Soju

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Twenty-year-old Leon travels to South Korea to spend a month of the summer with his boisterous older brother Joey, an English teacher who's been living in the country for the past three years.

Leon is thrown headfirst into Joey’s world, which mostly consists of smoking and drinking soju with his two housemates, fellow teachers Justin and Frank, both of whom seem to have lost sight of why they ever came to Korea in the first place.

Tensions rise as Frank’s detachment from Korean society bubbles into frustration and resentment towards its people, while Leon begins to see an unfamiliar side to his brother.

Table of Contents


I’ve never understood why people applaud the pilot after a successful landing. Sure, the plane didn’t crash into the runway and explo... Read Chapter


I’m waiting outside the main bus station in Daegu when my brother turns up in the passenger seat of a taxi. He calls my name and I gaze... Read Chapter


The ear-splitting racket of hyperactive children rumbles through the Kingdom like an earthquake. I writhe around in bed, cursing the chil... Read Chapter


‘Wake up, wake up…’ I open my eyes to see Joey hovering over me, looking surprisingly fresh and chipper. ‘Morning, brother.... Read Chapter


I awake from a thirteen-hour soaked sleep to the irritating sound of a fly buzzing around the room. I roll onto my back and observe t... Read Chapter


The next morning, or afternoon, we rise from our crypts and regroup in the lounge. As per the itinerary, Joey informs us that we’ll be ... Read Chapter


The jimjilbang has essentially been deserted by the time we wake up. A few leftover Koreans spread themselves around the room like quadri... Read Chapter


When we get back to the Kingdom it’s about nine o’clock. We find Frank sprawled across the sofa, brainlessly flicking through TV ... Read Chapter


Joey’s been working the last couple of days, so I’ve had to keep myself occupied during the daytime. Of course, I’ve seen him in th... Read Chapter


It’s a Thursday evening and I’m waiting for Joey and his lady friend to come and pick me up from Duryu park. I’ve spent most of the... Read Chapter


'I had the weirdest dream last night. I was sitting next to this big pile of bananas. Like, the nicest looking bananas you’ve ever seen... Read Chapter


I’m sitting on the sofa watching Show Me the Money when Joey bursts through the door. ‘Pack your bags,’ he instructs. ... Read Chapter


The next morning, the wasted Korean of the night before creeps into our dorm and silently glares at Joey while he sleeps. He pulls out a ... Read Chapter


When we return to the Kingdom the next day, we find Justin and Frank laid out on each sofa, vacantly gazing at some K-drama on TV. ... Read Chapter


We played pool until the early hours of the morning, venturing out to the CU every now and then to restock on cans of Hite. The old pyjam... Read Chapter


Frank did eventually return to the game, but he didn’t stop lambasting the Daegu FC fans under his breath until the final whistle blew.... Read Chapter


When we touchdown back in Daegu, we go to meet Frank and Justin in an English pub somewhere downtown. South Korea are playing Australia t... Read Chapter


‘I actually had a pretty weird dream last night, too.’ ‘Oh, yeah?’ ‘Yeah. I was on this spaceship.’ ‘A spaceshi... Read Chapter


It’s a Wednesday night and Joey and I are taking the metro downtown to meet Frank and Justin for dinner. We enter the bar and spot them... Read Chapter


The next morning, I wake up to an empty bed and a slamming headache. And still no sign of Joey. I drag myself to the lounge where... Read Chapter


We later head out to the same Korean barbecue restaurant we went to on the first night, to end things how we started. The atmosphere ... Read Chapter


Joey decided to sleep through his classes this morning. He was uncharacteristically defeatist when we returned to the Kingdom, circa ... Read Chapter


As expected, the harrowing, almost mockingly over-jolly tune of my alarm wakes me at what must be four o’clock. I dazedly roll towards ... Read Chapter

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