The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly (Sun-Mi Hwang)

Borrowed from the work shelf, and what a find! Sun-Mi Hwang is an amazing writer and an international bestseller deserving of the title. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is translated from Korean to English, and in much the same style as The Dog Who Dared To Dream, which I read and reviewed for the university linguist magazine last year. I believe Hen was written first, so perhaps I should say Dog is in the same style as Hen.

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is about Sprout, a battery farm hen who dreams of open skies and being able to hatch just one of her eggs. She is envious of the yard animals, and when she has reached the end of her egg-bearing days, she is lucky enough to survive through the help of a lonely Mallard. Shunned from the yard, Sprout finds an egg, and hatches it with Straggler the Mallard keeping watch for the devious weasel that hunts in the area.

It’s a story of family, and of what constitutes family and love. Sprout hatches a duckling, Straggler’s duckling, and she doesn’t care, she loves him fiercely even through she is a hen and he is a duck. But she is judged on the yard for hatching and then keeping a duckling, she faces people telling her that her duckling would be better off with the ducks on the yard. She is raising a child alone, and she just wants to keep her little duckling safe and protected from the Weasel that is hunting them.

It’s told from the Hen’s point of view, examining life in a battery verses life unprotected in the wilderness. It’s about family and love and loneliness, and it’s a beautiful story. And at 134 pages, it’s a short, simple read packed full of emotion and things happening. Sprout tries so desperately to fit in, but by the end she is certain of her role and how her life has turned out, and it. It was a beautifully written, parable-like book, and I recommend it for the TBR pile.

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