In Yu Miri’s “The End of August,” the power of names collides with the winds of fate to inform the lives of its large cast of characters. Unfortunately for Lee Woo-cheol, the novel’s protagonist, neither force works in his favor.

Originally serialized simultaneously in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun and South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspapers beginning in 2002, “The End of August” appears for the first time in English, with translation by Morgan Giles. The pair won the U.S. National Book Award for translated works in 2020 for Yu’s “Tokyo Ueno Station,” but this is a very different book from the one that helped the Zainichi (ethnic Korean resident of Japan) writer break out in English.

The End of August, by Yu Miri. Translated by Morgan Giles. 720 pages. RIVERHEAD BOOKS, Fiction.