A Magical Girl Retires: A Novel (Hardcover)

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A Magical Girl Retires: A Novel By Park Seolyeon, Anton Hur (Translated by) Cover Image
By Park Seolyeon, Anton Hur (Translated by)
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Staff Reviews

The perfect afternoon read, A MAGICAL GIRL RETIRES is a delightful story about credit card debt and who we believe ourselves to be.

— Noah

May 2024 Indie Next List

“A quixotic blend of fantasy and reality. Magical girls are real, but so too are credit card debt, COVID-19, and mass unemployment. This strangely nostalgic, deceptively simple novel taps into both the dreams and anxieties of millenials.”
— Shay Shortt, Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond, WA


A millennial turned magical girl must combat climate change and credit card debt in this delightful, witty, and wildly imaginative ode to magical girl manga.

Twenty-nine, depressed, and drowning in credit card debt after losing her job during the pandemic, a millennial woman decides to end her troubles by jumping off Seoul’s Mapo Bridge.

But her suicide attempt is interrupted by a girl dressed all in white—her guardian angel. Ah Roa is a clairvoyant magical girl on a mission to find the greatest magical girl of all time. And our protagonist just may be that special someone.

But the young woman’s initial excitement turns to frustration when she learns being a magical girl in real life is much different than how it’s portrayed in stories. It isn’t just destiny—it’s work. Magical girls go to job fairs, join trade unions, attend classes. And for this magical girl there are no special powers and no great perks, and despite being magical, she still battles with low self-esteem. Her magic wand . . . is a credit card—which she must use to defeat a terrifying threat that isn’t a monster or an intergalactic war. It’s global climate change. Because magical girls need to think about sustainability, too.

Park Seolyeon reimagines classic fantasy tropes in a novel that explores real-world challenges that are both deeply personal and universal: the search for meaning and the desire to do good in a world that feels like it’s ending. A fun, fast-paced, and enchanting narrative that sparkles thanks to award-nominated translator Anton Hur, A Magical Girl Retires reminds us that we are all magical girls—that fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight can be anyone's game.

Translated from the Korean by Anton Hur

About the Author

Park Seolyeon was born in Cheorwon, South Korea. She made her debut by winning the journal Silcheon Munhak's New Author Prize and received the 2018 Hankyoreh Literary Award for her novel The Woman Who Climbed on the Roof. Her works includes the novels Martha's Job and The Shirley Club, as well as the short-story collections Your Mom's the Better Player and Me, Me, Madeline. She is the recipient of the 2023 Yi Sang Literary Prize and the 2021 Munhakdongne Young Writers Award. She lives in Seoul and writes in a variety of forms and genres, with a focus on gender and labor.

Anton Hur was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and was subsequently raised in six different countries on four different continents, including British Hong Kong, Ethiopia, the United States, and Thailand, but spent most of his time in Korea. He has worked as an interpreter and translator for more than two decades, and in 2022, was double-longlisted and shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, the first translator of color to do so. In 2023, his translation of Bora Chung’s Cursed Bunny was shortlisted for the National Book Awards. He divides his time between Seoul and the science fiction-y island of Songdo with his husband. 

Praise For…

“A weird, delightful little book, simultaneously grim and breezy…A very entertaining read”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063373266
ISBN-10: 0063373262
Publisher: HarperVia
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English