Sad Peninsula


A Canadian ex-pat and a Korean former "comfort woman," each scarred by their pasts, seek redemption.

Two separate lives become connected in South Korea: traumatized former Korean "comfort woman" Eun-young, who struggles with her past of rape and violence; and Michael, a troubled young Canadian arriving in Korea to teach ESL, whose principles and humanity are tested by Seoul’s seedy expatriate underbelly. A world away and two generations apart, their lives collide through the fiery Jin, who challenges stereotypes of her race and gender as well as Michael’s morality.

Through meticulously crafted and heart-wrenching prose, Sad Peninsula takes the reader across oceans and decades, outlining the boundaries between seduction and coercion, between love and destruction, between a past that can’t be undone and a future that seems just out of reach.


The fact that readers are so emotionally engaged in discovering the answers to [the novel’s] questions indicates that the author has done a lot right here.

Quill & Quire

[H]arrowing and deeply moving . . .

Publishers Weekly

Sampson deftly negotiates the varying chapters and their viewpoints, surprising us with character revelations without tipping into melodrama, and forcing us to look more closely when we might prefer to turn away.

Winnipeg Free Press

“[A] fabulously rich picture of expat life ... [C]omplex and original"

The Literary Review of Canada

Meticulously crafted, moving, and hard to put down.

The Sun-Times

Mark Sampson…is a good, vivid writer.

The Guardian

About the Author

Mark Sampson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014

Mark Sampson

Mark Sampson is the author of the novels Off Book, Sad Peninsula, and The Slip, as well as a short-story collection, The Secrets men Keep, and a poetry collection, Weathervane. He has published fiction and poetry in literary journals across Canada. Mark lives in Toronto.